Mount Maunganui, locally known as “The Mount”, is an iconic volcanic cone situated at the North-Eastern incline of the peninsula at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty area of New Zealand. Regularly voted as the best seashore in New Zealand, Mount Maunganui, with its sprawling white-sand surf beaches skirted by the azure-blue ocean, is considered a coastal paradise. Just a short 10 minutes’ drive from Tauranga, thousands of holidaymakers gather at its picture-perfect beaches all year round for fun and frolic in the sun. If you are wondering what activities will make your holiday the perfect getaway, here are some of the things to do in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
1. Go surfing with Mount Surf Academy
To the east of Mauao lies the Main Beach, the principal beach of Mount Maunganui, famous for its Surf Breaks. Head out to the sea with your surfing board, and if you are a novice, enjoy the thrill of riding your first wave under the guidance of professional instructors. You can delight in the excitement of adventure in other watersports like sea kayaking, kitesurfing, jet-skiing, paragliding, stand up paddleboarding – the options are numerous. The shoreline is dotted with stores that provide all the necessary pieces of equipment and clothing on hire.
Mount Surf Academy
Address: Corner Banks Ave &, Marine Parade, 3116, New Zealand
Website: Mount Surf Academy
Opening hours: 9am - 5pm (daily)
Price: 32.02 USD for 1 hour lesson including board and wetsuit
Take to the skies on a 20-minute spectacular helicopter flight over the varied landscape of the area around Mount Maunganui. Historical remains of Maori Pa sights, lush orchards of kiwi and avocado, the inner harbor in the stunning backdrop of the open ocean dotted with islands and coastal peninsulas provide incredible photo opportunities. You’ll also get to see the Papamoa Hills on this helicopter tour.
Tauranga: Papamoa Hills 20-Minute Helicopter Scenic Flight
Duration: 20 minute
Mount Maunganui is now officially recognized by its Maori name Mauao, which can be approximately translated as ‘caught by the light’. Mauáo is 232 meters (761 feet) above sea level, and the trails to the peak, the Summit Tracks, are somewhat steep. Scaling the summit will need fitness but the 30 to 45 minutes’ climb is definitely worth the effort. Once at the top, you can enjoy a 360-degree panorama - the Pacific Ocean crashing on the east and the tranquil waters of the Tauranga Harbour lapping the feet of the Mauao to the west, and a spectacular view of the beaches and township beyond. On a clear day, you can even see the steam escaping from the marine volcano “White Island” at a distance.
If the uphill climb is too tiring for you, you can take the hour-long scenic walk around the ‘Mount’ – along the Base Track - with isolated beach inlets and rock pools, and you can watch the sea birds, dolphins, and New Zealand fur seals, playing in the water or resting in the rocks. You also get to learn the history of the Bay of Plenty.
Mount Maunganui Self-Guided Audio Tour
Duration: 1 to 3 hours
If you want to set your adrenaline pumping, go for this epic freefall of 45 seconds with a dive into nothingness up from 12000 feet (3700 meters). The adventure begins with a flight that offers spectacular views of Mount Maunganui and the surroundings – the expansive golden beaches, the White Island, the serene Rotorua Lakes, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki standing majestically tall, the pristine beaches of The Coromandel. When you reach the designated height, jump out for a tandem skydive, and experience the exhilaration of freefall at the velocity of 200 kph (124 mph). Finally, reach the base on a peaceful parachute ride.
From Tauranga: 12,000 Feet Skydive over Mount Maunganui
Duration: 1.5 hour
Step into the land of the hobbits from the world of The Lord of the Rings on this trip through Middle Earth at the Hobbiton Movie Set. This location was reconstructed for the latest Hobbit films at the center of the Waikato area. Peter Jackson’s celebrated “The Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy was filmed in this setting. A knowledgeable guide will give you glimpses of insider stories on the making of this famous trilogy. Refresh yourself with a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn.
From Tauranga Port: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour Shore Excursion
Duration: 5 hour
Explore the white sandy beaches, lush green forests, and small village settlements or marvel at the massive cargo and visiting cruise ships as you travel through one of the busiest ports of New Zealand. You can catch sight of seasonal wildlife like blue penguins, orcas and fur seals. Hop off at Matakana Island and spend some time on the pristine beach swimming, fishing or having a picnic. You cannot enter the private forest due to the risk of fire.
1hr Scenic Harbour Cruise Mount Maunganui - Tauranga
Duration: 1 hour
Go underwater from Mount Maunganui Beach on a breathtaking snorkeling experience to check out the corals and vibrant underwater wildlife. Safe at only a stone’s throw distance from the shoreline, you will have guided tours around the area exploring the diverse forms of life under the sea. Snorkeling gear and wetsuits are available for hire. The most incredible experience that you can have during your stay in Mount Maunganui would be swimming with the wild dolphins. On offer are both free-swimming encounters with the dolphins in their natural homes, as well as the safety of swim bars to clutch on while you are immersed in the water.
Tauranga - Mount Maunganui Beach Snorkeling Adventure
Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes
Soak up the sun and the cultural heritage of this Maori nation on an effortless walking excursion of 2.5 hours’ duration, accompanied by a local guide well-informed about local history. Stroll along the coastal area around the Tauranga Port at Mount Maunganui, mostly over flat ground. Visit the consecrated Maori burial caves at the base of Mt Drury and find out age-old Maori legends. Enjoy the waterfront panorama from Moturiki Island. Catch glimpses of the native fauna, the grey-faced petrels and the little blue penguins frolicking in their natural habitat. You may even get to view the amazing spectacle of water gushing out of the Moturiki blowhole.
After a day of long walks on the lap of nature, soak your aches away in the saltwater hot pools, the ideal way to unwind. You can also opt to purchase an additional massage treatment.
Mount Drury and Moturiki Island Shore Excursion from Tauranga
Duration: 3 hours
This area is the geothermal heartland of New Zealand. Get to know this exotic landscape with halts at simmering mud pools and seething hot springs of Kuirau Park on a full-day family-friendly tour to Rotorua. Explore local kiwi orchards and the Okere Falls. Feel the tranquility of the Lake Rotorua waterfront. Feast your eyes on the panoramic views of the city with a gondola ride up Mt. Ngongotaha to the Skyline Adventure Park in Rotorua, the iconic destination of the city that has something to offer people of all ages. A professional and experienced guide will provide insightful narratives to enrich your experience. At an extra cost, you can choose to enhance your experience with activities like having a scrumptious meal at the smorgasbord restaurant, feel the thrill of an adrenaline rush zipping down the mountainside on the huge carts or on the sky swing rides or the zipline.
Tauranga to Te Puia and Skyline Rotorua Visit Shore Excursion
Duration: 7 hours
This adventure park offers a family-friendly excursion with a number of fun-filled activities to set your senses abuzz. Rebound from a water trampoline and toss yourself into the water like a human catapult, whiz down the slide, try out your rock-climbing dexterity on a rock wall or glide down peacefully on a kayak on the serene waters while you gorge on the scenic beauty of New Zealand – there is something for everyone.
Tauranga Shore Excursion: Waimarino Adventure Park
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
The perfect holiday destination
Hire a BloKart, a specially designed bike with tires that can glide over the sand, and feel the salt spray blow your hair and a bright smile light up your face as you zoom down the flat sands of the Main Beach as it rolls down towards Papamoa. Whether you swim, surf, indulge in adventure sports or go hiking, or simply relax and sunbathe, Mount Maunganui is the perfect holiday destination. Local lifeguards patrol the beach in the summer months making swimming and surfing absolutely safe for all family members. Excellent eateries and a vibrant nightlife complement the stunning scenic views and outstanding shopping experiences are also on offer, to make your vacation an unforgettable one.
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