Life in a resort town: Mount Maunganui, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Mount (Mt) Maunganui, Tauranga, as seen from the summit of Mauao.
JESSICA BESWICK

Mount (Mt) Maunganui, Tauranga, as seen from the summit of Mauao.

One of NZ's best beaches, scenic walks and that view! The Mount has it all.

WHERE IS IT?

Under three hours from Auckland, it's a popular holiday spot.
ANGELA QUIGAN

Under three hours from Auckland, it's a popular holiday spot.

Mount Maunganui is a sunny beachside town in Tauranga, in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island.

Just a short drive in under three hours, The Mount - as its colloquially known - is a very popular holiday spot for Aucklanders. It's also just a 1 hour 20 min flight from Wellington or a two-hour flight from Christchurch.

If you feel like a bit of a jaunt, why not visit Hobbiton on the way (you can get to Matamata from Mount Maunganui in under an hour), or go luging in Rotovegas (around an hour's driving time).

The Mount, named Mauao, is actually an extinct volcano cone.
ANGELA QUIGAN

The Mount, named Mauao, is actually an extinct volcano cone.

WHAT'S IT FAMOUS FOR?

The Mount is most famous for its mountain, Mauao. Stretching 232 metres above sea level, the extinct volcanic cone sits right at the end of the peninsula.

Mauao is a popular location for scenic walks ( via trail both up and around the mountain), fitness (via the stairs - straight up!) and even paragliding from the summit.

The walk to Mauao's summit takes about 45 minutes and does require a reasonable level of fitness.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

The walk to Mauao's summit takes about 45 minutes and does require a reasonable level of fitness.

The 3.4km base track walk will take you around 45 minutes and can be walked in either direction. It's not a challenging walk and you don't have to stick to the path - you can wander down to the sand and dip your toes in the water or explore the beach at the bottom. If you're really lucky, you might get to see a seal or two sunbathing on the rocks or fishing in the water.

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The walk to Mauao's summit takes about 45 minutes and does require a reasonable level of fitness. The track is long, winding and all uphill. The Waikorire track on the eastern side of the mountain will get you to top much faster - but it's all stair climbing. About two-thirds of the way up is a clearing where you can stop and take a breather.

Remember, the best views are from the top!

A sunset from the summit of Mount Maunganui.
Siobhan Downes/FAIRFAX NZ

A sunset from the summit of Mount Maunganui.

Mount Maunganui's Main Beach is also a popular spot for locals and visitors alike and was recently crowned the best beach in New Zealand by Tripadvisor. Take a dip in the ocean, rake your toes through the white sand, stroll across the road to the cafes or wander down to the main street for more eateries and boutique shopping.

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO THERE?

Cruise the harbour, rent a kayak or jet ski from Pilot Bay, take a surfing lesson, or go for a soak in the Hot Salt Water Pools at the base of the mount.

Check out the Little Big Markets - hosted at the Papamoa Pony Club once a month - boasting live music, great food and local craftsmen and women flogging their wares.

WHO LIVES THERE?

More than 20,000 people call Mount Maunganui home - a number that booms in the heat of summer as holiday makers descend on The Mount.

There are more than 111,000 people currently living in the wider Tauranga area, including former AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd.

WHERE CAN I LIVE?

Property in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty region has been in hot demand as Aucklanders look to escape the overheated market and choose the laid black lifestyle of The Mount and surrounding areas.

House prices in Tauranga are up 26.5 per cent year-on-year, and 5 per cent in the last three months. The average house price in central Tauranga is now $665,155.

BEST TIME OF YEAR?

December to March are the warmest months and when Mt Maunganui plays host to a number of summer festivals over the New Year period. It's also the time of year when the mount is absolutely heaving with holidaymakers, so bear in mind it will be a lot busier than usual.

 - Stuff

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