Pilot Bay is one of our region’s premier destinations – a beautiful sheltered beach which sits on the edge of Tauranga Harbour and beneath Mount Maunganui’s towering mountain ‘Mauao’.
This bay runs along the southwestern side of Mount Maunganui’s peninsula and is sheltered from the open ocean. Small waves gently lap at the shore here as the tide flows in and out, providing calm swimming conditions all year round.
This is a great spot for families with young children who want to splash about in the water without getting knocked off their feet by big waves. Hunt for shells, build sandcastles, draw pictures in the sand and enjoy swimming with your little ones here.
Pilot Bay’s sandy beach gradually rises upwards to become a wide, flat grass reserve which extends back towards the main road, The Mall. A wooden boardwalk runs parallel to this road so you can stroll the full length of Pilot Bay to reach the base of Mauao and the start of the mountain’s popular 3.4km base track.
A row of stately Norfolk Pine trees line Pilot Bay, helping provide a picture-perfect scene for cruise passengers as they sail through the harbour entrance and berth at the nearby port.
Pilot Bay is the best place to view these magnificent cruise ships up close. Bring a picnic dinner down to this beach and watch them depart on a warm summer’s evening. The largest ships attract huge crowds of locals who cheer and wave goodbye to passengers as they sail away.
There are plenty of barbeques and picnic tables for you to use along Pilot Bay, and cafes and ice-cream parlours are also just a short walk away.
Kayaks and other water sports equipment are available for hire right on the shore here. This is a great place to launch your jet ski, stand up paddle board or watch waka ama crews train for their next regatta. Pilot Bay is also a popular location for triathlons and other open water swimming events during summer months.
A boat ramp and limited parking for boat trailers is available down the Mauao end of Pilot Bay, and public toilets can be found about half way along The Mall.
Pilot Bay is a picturesque place to relax in the sun, enjoy the harbour views and watch the world go by. With stunning scenery, clear blue water and plenty to see and do, it sums up everything we love about the Bay of Plenty.
Pilot Bay Beach