Things to do in the area
Mount Maunganui is one of New Zealand’s best-loved holiday spots and a Kiwi favourite from way back. But it’s not just the pristine, natural environment that draws people in. Whether you want to get up close and personal with wildlife, eat the best food in town or try something new – there’s something for everyone in our hand-picked selection of must-see activities.
Within 5 minutes drive
MOUNT MAUNGANUI MILE
Mount Maunganui’s food scene is buzzing!
Home to excellent restaurants, popular cafes, gourmet food markets and plenty of fresh local produce, Mt Maunganui is a foodie hub.
Vegan? Gluten free? Or meat, vegetable and everything-friendly? There’s something for every taste and dietary requirement in the eateries along Mount Maunganui’s main street, beachside cafes and beyond. This month’s best bets:
- Try Cafe 88 for the world’s best selection of home baked goods, scrumptious breakfasts and espresso yourself with to-die-for coffee.
- Wild One Wholefoods eatery for guilt-free, nourishing, delicious food that’s made on site with your health in mind.
- Lunch and dinner at Satori Lounge is a whole new sushi and sashimi taste sensation.
Mauao coastal walk
Make the most of paradise on your doorstep, explore Mauao historic reserve.
Walking around ‘the Mount’ is a favourite for locals and visitors alike. This easy 3.4km (45-minute) base track walk takes you along a simple, circular pathway with spectacular views. Watch out for seals basking on the rocks, sheep, panoramas to Matakana Island and plenty of boating activity. Family-friendly and suitable for strollers and wheelchairs, there are a few uphill slopes and tree roots, so take care.
Or if you’re up for a hike, take the track via a series of steps to the summit of Mauao and feast your eyes on sensational views.
Swim with dolphins in the clean, blue Bay of Plenty waters off Mount Maunganui.
Dreamed of swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat? Choose from a number of popular, New Zealand tourism qualmark endorsed, eco-tour operators working alongside these beautiful creatures making their home in Mt Maunganui’s marine playground.
Tours include free-swimming excursions and safe-swim bars to hold onto while in the ocean waters. Only choose tours licensed to operate with marine mammals by the New Zealand Department of Conservation.
First time on a paddle board? No problem! You’ll be up and paddling in no time.
The best thing about paddle boarding in the sheltered waters of Pilot Bay is the view. For a calm, residential bay there’s a lot to see! Once you get the hang of boarding, you can cruise past the walkers on the Mount base track, glide around the kids fishing off the wharf and maybe even go all the way down to the port to see the cruise ships come in. With plenty of SUP hire, tours, lessons and fitness classes on offer, you’ve got a bucket-load of choice. For more information about hiring a stand up paddle board contact East Coast Paddler and Mt Maunganui’s Hibiscus Surf School.
Base of Mauao
Hot, clean, salty and wet. Do yourself a favour and take a dip!
Fan of the active holiday? Keen on surfing, paddle boarding and walking up the Mount? Best you get yourself over to the Mount Hot Pools for a post-exercise soak to heal those aches and pains.
A classic local treat for the whole family, with kiddy pools and plenty of snacks on offer, the Mount Hot Pools have always been a hot holiday favourite and it’s no wonder. Located at the base of Mauao, you can take your pick from scorching to deliciously warm. It’s hot pool heaven.
Take to the waves in one of New Zealand’s favourite surfing destinations.
Mount main beach is a popular hotspot for ocean lovers, beach volleyballers and, you guessed it, surfers. Whatever your surfing ability, from newbie to refresher, there’s a 100% certified surfing instructor keen to introduce you to the local waves.
Choose from daily surf lessons, multi-day packages or get a group together and have a laugh. There’s a load of surf schools to choose from, all offering experienced, friendly instructors and quality equipment in a safe, fun environment. Check out:
Experience the amazing Ocean Eleven apartment for yourself
Within an hour’s drive
Get a bird’s eye perspective with the Redwoods Treewalk and feel the peace of the forest.
Enjoy a stroll through Rotorua’s majestic Redwoods – Whakarewarewa Forest, or take the eco-treewalk. This 553-metre canopy boardwalk is built from a series of 23 suspension bridges traversing the gaps between 22 magnificent century-old Redwood trees.
Visit during the day, rain or shine (it’s even more beautiful in wet weather), or experience an ‘iconic nocturnal tourism experience’:
A 30-minute, natural wonder for young and old, which you can enjoy safely at your own pace and with no safety harness or training.
Bubbling mud pools, colourful waters and hissing fumaroles. Explore Rotorua.
Discover the beauty, culture and history of Rotorua’s geothermal wonderland. Part of the Taupo volcanic zone, Rotorua’s volcanic crater lakes, erupting geysers and bubbling mud has drawn excited visitors since the 1800’s.
There’s plenty to see (and smell!) for free: explore Sulphur Point and check out Kuirau Park, a geothermal public park with specially built pathways and fences to guide you through the steaming, bubbling bits. Or stroll through a ticketed area like Wai-O-Tapu, described as a ‘colour-splashed geothermal reserve’.
ex Mount Maunganui
White Island will blow you away! Just kidding…
But it is a live volcano and an island! Fly across 49km of ocean out of Whakatane by helicopter (about one hour’s drive south of Mount Maunganui) and take a guided tour of Whakaari (White Island) to experience the full, geothermal and volcanic experience. Flights land directly on the crater complex, so you’re immediately up close and personal with impressive geothermal activity – rushing steam vents, hot volcanic waters, intense colour and bubbling mud.
There are scenic flights, adventure day trips and guided tour experiences leaving from Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and Papamoa regularly. Take a look at:
Extraordinary, canyon glow worm experience just 25 minutes from the city.
One of the region’s best kept secrets, this fascinating kayaking must-do experience is suitable for the whole family. Set off at sunset, head torches in place, to paddle across serene Lake McLaren waters to reach a high-sided canyon (no caves!). As the sun sets and the stars come out, you’ll be on the hunt for these tiny, magical, glowing creatures.
Fully guided tours with professional kayaking instructors lead your group and entertain with stories about the life cycles and oddities of what’s actually called a ‘fungus gnat’. Let’s stick to the more romantic name if you’re with your partner! Check out:
Tauranga and Rotorua
Want a rush? White water rafting takes you on an adventure.
Nature, exercise and if you’re up for it, extreme sports fun! Join a white water rafting adventure experience on one of New Zealand’s best rafting waterways in Tauranga, or nearby Rotorua. Ranging from grade two to five, a wide selection of tours offer rafting trips from calm, scenic gliding expeditions to thrill-seeker waterfall drops and rushing rapids.
Always choose a safe, professional rafting tour operator who provides training, qualified instructors and appropriate gear with a minimal impact on our beautiful environment. Read more about River Rats.
Rotorua Canopy Tours
Fly through the trees on New Zealand’s only native forest zipline tour.
A three-hour adventure using zip lines, swing bridges, walking trails and tree top platforms to explore wonderful, native Rotorua forest. Ancient trees, rare native birds and the thrill of zip lining (sometimes up to 200 metres!) through a pristine, 100% pure New Zealand environment. A guided tour gives you all the fascinating facts about the region, its remarkable birdlife, conservation efforts and more. Voted #1 outdoor activity in Rotorua on TripAdvisor, it’s well worth a look.