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Explore Mount Maunganui

The Bay of Plenty region is teeming with exciting activities, and the good news is that there are plenty of cost-effective options in both Tauranga and Mt Maunganui. Whether you're interested in hiking, art galleries, culinary adventures, or social gatherings, you'll find a wealth of opportunities for all ages, all abilities and all pockets!!

Today we are focusing on Mount Maunganui and we’ll start with the most obvious activity …

Climb Mt Maunganui

Waste no time soaking in the breathtaking views from the summit of Mt Maunganui, also known as Mauao or "The Mount." Several walking trails lead up and around The Mount, but the 30-minute climb to the summit offers sweeping panoramic vistas of beaches, Tauranga city, and the Pacific Ocean. Fitness enthusiasts can tackle a run up and down "the Mount" or families with pushchairs or those not wanting quite such a strenuous activity “The Base Track” walk around the base of the Mount is also a great walk worth taking. Why not enjoy both!

Whilst in the same area why not try your hand (or rather feet and legs) at …

View from the top of Mount Maunganui
Matakana Island from top of Mount Maunganui

Surfing at Mt Maunganui

When the waves are up Mt Maunganui Beach offers great thrilling wave-riding fun. There are plenty of surf shops and kiosks along the beach front that often offer deals on surfboard rentals and opportunities for lessons. Surfing is, naturally, high in popularity as an activity in Tauranga.

And before moving on from the immediate vicinity, after your strenuous climb and attempts at riding the waves why not head to …

The Mount Hot Pools

Enjoy a relaxing soak in the Mount Hot Pools located beneath the majesty of Mauao and the only hot ocean water complex in the world! Prices are quite reasonable, including family pass options. Plus if you have a Tauranga Residents Card you get further discounts!

The pools also offer private pools, massage options and aquafit classes!

Salt water bathing health benefits were recognised as far back as 500BC by Hippocrates believing the warm waters help to rebalance and detoxify our bodies and improve mobility by easing muscle and joint inflammation.

Pilot Bay

If you’re in the Mount and you’re not into the surf  of Mount Maunganui beach then don’t worry! Just on the other side of the Peninsula and edging Tauranga Harbour you will find stunningly beautiful white sands and calm waters of Pilot Bay! This is the side to enjoy kayaks, fishing and paddle boarding. Great for families who want to avoid the surf and Pilot Bay is also the home of Kewpie Cruises.

Mount Maunganui surf beach
Mount Parade

Kewpie Cruises

In 1953, a Kauri hull vessel called KEWPIE was crafted in Opua Bay of Islands, coinciding with the same year as Queen Elizabeth's Coronation. Over the span of its 60 years of service, KEWPIE has woven a vibrant tapestry into New Zealand's history.

Originally commissioned by (Fullers) to support the burgeoning commerce along the renowned Bay of Islands "Cream Run," KEWPIE embarked daily from (Russel) to the outlying islands. Its duties encompassed collecting milk cans, transporting passengers, and delivering mail. This commercial venture eventually evolved into one of New Zealand's most sought-after tourist experiences, with tourism surpassing freight as the primary source of revenue.

The vessel's moniker, KEWPIE, was a nod to its former guide, Ted KEWBIT, who achieved fame during his lifetime as one of New Zealand's most renowned guides. The story goes that Ted earned the nickname KEWPIE from his fellow patrons at the local pub. Ted was a charismatic and unforgettable character, characterized by his short stature, ruddy complexion, and cheeky demeanor, which endeared him to both adult passengers and children alike.

It wasn't until the vessel's christening, marked by the smashing of champagne on its bow, that the name KEWPIE was unveiled, leaving Ted in astonishment and deeply moved. In 1957, Ted passed away, leaving behind a legacy embodied by the enduring KEWPIE.

Now running from the jetty at Pilot Bay you can enjoy an iconic scenic harbour cruise on board or get dropped off and enjoy Matakana Island and kids under 12 also travel free!

Note cruises do not run in the winter.

Classic Flyers Aviation Museum

Situated within Tauranga Airport, the Classic Flyers Aviation Museum holds great appeal for aviation enthusiasts and doesn’t leave the kids out either! Its impressive assortment encompasses vintage aircraft, aviation relics, and informative exhibitions that chronicle the aviation heritage of New Zealand.

At this museum, visitors can discover a wide array of aircraft examples and history, encompassing classic warplanes, commercial airliners, and aged helicopters. Additionally, they offer interactive displays and exhibitions divulging the progression of aviation technology and its significance in New Zealand's past.

With the option to climb through aircraft hulls and enjoy toy airplane fun for the kids, as well as a children’s birthday party venue, there really is something for all ages and is an excellent destination to explore.

Classic Flyers Aviation Museum, Mount Maunganui
Classic Flyers Aviation Museum, Mount Maunganui

Mount Brewing Co - The Rising Tide

A locally owned and operated 2nd generation brewery with a passion for making tasty high quality brews found, unexpectedly in the heart of the industrial area of the Mount.

Great for family outings with a varied menu and options for great tasting paddles for the adults of their varieties of brews and ciders and right on the park edge where the kids can play safely.

There’s a great atmosphere and a real buzz to an outing to this place!

The Lion and Tusk Museum of the Rhodesian Services Association

Perhaps considered an unusual place to find a museum dedicated to the Rhodesian Services Association. The Lion and Tusk Museum was established in 2018. It contains a collection of historical, cultural, artistic and scientific information displays, video, photos and writings which depict Rhodesia, and Rhodesians of all races, from the late 19th century until the country's transition to Zimbabwe in 1980.

Displays include and Alouette III helicopter, medals, badges, weapons, uniforms, equipment, shop, souvenirs, library and Memorial Garden.

Shopping and Dining

If you’re a fan of either shopping or dining then you’ll love Mount Maunganui! The town centre is a hub packed with eateries and boutique shops with beautiful gifts, clothing and more. There really is too many to start singling out shops or eateries covering all cuisines, you really have to just go to the Mount and discover for yourself!

The Mount Brewery Co, Mount Maunganui
The Rising Tide, The Mount Brewery Co, Mount Maunganui

The Bay Oval

Calling all cricket lovers! Bay Oval, the home of Bay of Plenty cricket, is found right here in Mount  Maunganui. It has been a witness to numerous unforgettable moments in cricket, spanning from domestic contests to international clashes. Thanks to its tranquil beachside ambiance and the region's consistently sunny and pleasant weather, Bay Oval stands out as a delightful venue for both participating in and spectating cricket in New Zealand. With a seating capacity of 12,000, it provides an intimate sporting experience that brings cricket enthusiasts closer to the on-field action. If you’re wondering what’s on at the Oval check out their website events at

Papamoa Beach

Whilst Mt Maunganui beach and Papamoa beach are separate beaches they are adjacent and you can’t visit the area without also spending some time on Papamoa beach. Mt Maunganui beach is approximately 1.6 km long and Papamoa beach is approximately 16 km long. Uncrowded and pristine white sands the beach is definitely worth a visit and play for the kids!

As with all countries there are quirky activities often in quiet little corners. Our “Well I Never” series tells you about just a few of these events or activities we feel really are iconic and quintessentially Kiwi …

Today we are looking at an annual event held in the small King Country town Te Kuiti, 78 km south of Hamilton.

Every year, usually the weekend after Easter Te Kuiti hosts the New Zealand Shearing Championships and puts on the Great New Zealand Muster with the “Running of the Sheep”!

Te Kuiti The Running of the Sheep

OK so it may not be as big as the running of the bulls in Pamplona and perhaps doesn’t hold quite the danger element but the fun and enthusiasm elements more than make up, especially for the first time visitor!!

Known (at least locally) as the “Sheep Shearing Capital of the World” Te Kuiti puts on a show that is well worth a stopover.

Whilst the sheep don’t always realise they have the freedom to race down the main street and perhaps don’t initially want this privilege offered to them they can perhaps need a little initial coaxing, inevitably the do as sheep do and all finally race down the main road.

Before the Running of the Sheep an equally amazing event is the sheep shearing contests. An activity there is little doubt you need to be very fit to do both men and women can shear full sized sheep in less than a minute and not just one, but one after another! There’s also lots more to enjoy with sheep races, street stalls and Maori cultural performances.

So if you happen to find yourself in the depths of King Country around about Easter time make sure you put this iconic New Zealand event in your calendar!

How quintessentially Kiwi …

1. Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Cycleway and Walk

Te Ara Tahuna Estuary Pathway provides an excellent bike ride, or riding with children on bikes or scooters.

Accessed from Western Reserve, at the southern end of Orewa beach and just 40 minutes drive north from Auckland centre. The path features tributes to the estuary's past as a significant food gathering place for Maori including six carved seats created by Auckland's prison's carving group, carved from Macrocarpa trees felled during the walkway construction. Five of the seats represent the various hapu of the Kaipara Harbour who travelled to their traditional fishing grounds in the Orewa estuary to collect seafood.

The sixth seat was unveiled in memory of Kiara Morgan, a young Orewa girl who died of cancer in 2011.

The pathway is 7.6 km long and passes along the edge of the estuary through bush trails and quiet residential areas. It is mostly sealed and flat.

The pathway (travelling anti-clockwise) follows the Millenium Walkway through Western Reserve and distance markers are placed every 1 km so you can track your progress! Connects to walk Nos 1, 2 and 3 below.

Orewa Walks
1. Alice Eaves Scenic Reserve
Old North Rd, Orewa. 30–45 mins. Fine remnant stand of native kauri and broadleaf forest at northern end of Orewa. Lower track beside Nukumea Stream to Kensington Park suitable for wheelchairs. Good examples of kauri and puriri. Pa site at Hillcrest Rd entrance.

2. Orewa Esplanade Reserve

Hibiscus Coast Highway, Orewa - 45–60 mins. Paved walking track along northern half of beachfront reserve. Runs from Arundel Reserve, at northern end, to the town centre. Links to No 1 above.

3. Orewa Millennium Walkway

Orewa Township. 2 hours. ‘Oval’ walkway. Start from south bridge, follow estuary to Centreway Reserve, turn left down Riverside Rd and cross road into Grant Park, along Hatton Rd through Victor Eaves Park to link with Eaves Bush returning to south bridge via Orewa beachfront. Follow the blue footprints.

4. Maygrove Reserve

Riverside/Lakeside Drives, Maygrove, Orewa. A variety of walkways through residential areas, esplanade reserve and around the artificial lake in Lakeside Reserve. Wet in winter. Range of short and long walks.

5. Pohutukawa Reserve/Orewa Estuary

Pohutukawa Ave and Moffat Rd, Orewa. 30–45 mins. Grass reserve walkway on south side of estuary running from Orewa south bridge to Jelas Rd/Kingsway School into Totara Views subdivision.

Whangaparaoa Walks

1. Amorino Reserve
SH1/Hibiscus Coast Highway, Red Beach. 15–30 mins. Reserve walkway beside Orewa estuary mouth, linking with surrounding residential streets. Start of Whangaparaoa Peninsula’s ‘Coastal Walkways’. Follow signs on lamp posts.

2. Red Beach Reserves
Vista Motu and Marellen Drive, Red Beach. 30-45 mins. An informal walk between various reserves in the centre of Red Beach. From Red Beach Lookout Reserve take walkways into Higham Ferrers Reserve, cross Bay Vista Dr into Gilshennan Reserve, follow path to right and follow walkways to Rushden Terrace and Red Beach Park, cross Marellen Drive to beach.

3. Red Beach section of Coastal Walkway
Ngapara St – Duncansby Rd, Red Beach. 30 mins. Walk along beach from Ngapara St to Duncansby Rd. May be restricted at high tide.

4. Stanmore Bay Beach
Cooper Rd and Stanmore Bay Reserve, Stanmore Bay. 15–30 mins. Walk along beach from Cooper Rd/Lea Reserve to Stanmore Bay Park. Cross arch bridge at eastern end of park to link to No. 3 above

5. Stanmore Bay Reserve to Manly Beach
Stanmore Bay Rd – Moreton Dr, Manly. 15–30 mins. Walk from end of Stanmore Bay Rd and take track up through historic cemetery. Left into Ardern Ave and cross to next accessway. Turn right into Swann Beach Rd to the top corner and next accessway with steps through to Hurdlow Place and Moreton Drive / beach.

6. Manly Beach to Tindalls Beach
Brown St – Tindalls Bay Rd, Tindalls Beach. 15–30 mins. From end of Brown St, walk along beach (restricted at high tide) to boatramp. Cross footbridge by sheds to accessway to The Crescent. Follow road round Crown Reserve to Tindalls Beach.

7. Tindalls Beach to Matakatia Beach
15–30mins. From centre of beach, take series of accessways through to Whangaparaoa Rd. Cross road and turn right to top of hill, then left into reserve accessway down to Matakatia Beach.

8. Gulf Harbour
Shakespear Rd – Gulf Harbour Drive, Gulf Harbour. Walkways progressing as Gulf Harbour estate develops. Network utilises reserves, roads and runs through the golf course. Range of short and long walks. Toilets at boatramp.

9. Fisherman’s Rock/Pacific Parade
Fisherman’s Rock Reserve, Army Bay. 60–90 mins. Coastal clifftop walk from Fisherman’s Rock Reserve to eastern end of Pacific Parade. Two clifftop staircases and stone ramp provide access onto rocky foreshore. Access between Fisherman’s Rock and Pacific Parade Reserves via foreshore, restricted at high tide.

10. Shakespear Regional Park
Army Bay, Whangaparaoa Peninsula. Various marked tracks ranging from 1 – 2 hrs around farm park at end of peninsula. Open sanctuary under development behind predator-proof fence. Bookable picnic sites and camping. Sweeping views of Hauraki Gulf and islands. The Heritage, Tiri and Okoromai tracks are medium difficulty and are approximately 9 km. Click here for basic Shakespear map.

11. Tiritiri Matangi Island
Take ferry from Gulf Harbour Marina. Open sanctuary for some of New Zealand’s rare and endangered plant and bird species. Home to saddlebacks, kiwi, takahe, bellbird and other native birds no longer seen on mainland. A variety of walking tracks across island.

12. Tiri Rd – East Ave Clifftop
Starts at 33 Tiri Rd, Little Manly. 5–15 mins. Short clifftop reserve walk between Tiri Rd and East Ave cul de sac. Good views of Hauraki Gulf.

13. Little Manly Beach
South Ave – Little Manly Beach, Little Manly. 5–15 mins. Shore reserve and clifftop walk from South Ave to beach.

14. Arkles Bay Clifftop
Ladies Mile – Arkles Bay. 5–15 mins. Short clifftop walk from Ladies Mile/Whangaparaoa Rd intersection to Arkles Bay beach through coastal bush. Steep flight of steps at Arkles Bay end.

15. Whangaparaoa Town Centre to Stanmore Bay beach
Town centre – Brightside Rd, Stanmore Bay. 15–30 mins. From town centre via Palmgreen Court and reserve, walkway to Rata Rd. Walkway half way along Rimu Rd on right leads into Stanmore Bay Park past leisure Centre. Cross Brightside Rd to beach side of reserve.

16. Stanmore Bay Reserve to Town Centre
15–30 mins. From the back of the leisure centre, via wetland walk to Rata Rd, Palmgreen Court or Red Hibiscus Rd and onto Whangaparaoa Rd.

17. Ferry Road Reserve. Ferry Rd, Arkles Bay
5–15 mins. Short reserve walk through coastal bush to foreshore of Weiti River near mouth of river. Timber steps at top. Slippery rocks on foreshore.

18. Fairhaven Walk. Wade River Rd, Arkles Bay
30–45 mins. Rough dead end walking track off end of Wade River Rd past boat club on banks of Weiti River flanked by native bush with some big puriri trees.

19. Okura Walk
Duck Creek Rd, Stillwater or Haigh Access Rd, Redvale. 2–2.5 hours from Stillwater through muddy pastures and along foreshore to historic Dacre cottage (composting toilets alongside). 3–3.5 hours from Okura (Haigh Access Rd) through Scenic Bush Reserve. Coastal walk between Weiti and Okura Rivers. Boots required. Check out Okura Walk details

We have hunted out our five favourite dive sites in New Zealand. New Zealand reportedly has more scuba divers per capita than any other country in the world. Whether it's cruising around reefs in subtropical Northland water, or exploring a subterranean fresh-water cave system, Kiwis are at home under the water.


If you're looking for superb diving opportunities in New Zealand, you cannot go past the Poor Knights Islands, off the coast of Tutukaka, near Whangarei. Jacques Cousteau named it as one of the top 10 dive sites in the world and more recently Diver magazine called it the world's best subtropical dive.

Warm currents swept in from tropical waters further north support 125 different species of fish, as well as corals, sponges, kelp forests and stingrays. This is the place to go for stunning displays of underwater colour: Reef fish mingle with sponges, anemones and vibrant seaweeds.

The islands are the remains of a group of 11-million-year-old volcanoes and underwater cliffs drop to 100m below sea level in places. Caves and archways shelter species that usually would be found much deeper than they are here  - in the Rikoriko Cave, 10m below the surface, is a sponge usually found 200m down.

The Poor Knights include the world's largest sea cave - so big that it's reputed to have hidden a Japanese submarine during World War II.

Visibility is best in winter, when divers can see up to 30m. But as the water warms up, plankton moves in and decreases visibility, although it boosts fish life. Watch out for passing humpbacks and turtles.

The Poor Knights diving in New Zealand


Still in the north, Greenpeace's flagship boat was sunk at the Cavalli Islands in 1987, two years after its infamous bombing in the Auckland harbour. It is now an artificial reef teeming with marine life and a very popular dive site. But reports from divers say that the wreck appears to be disintegrating at an increasing rate, so this is one to visit sooner rather than later. The wreck is 27m below the surface, and about 40m in length.

It is covered with gorgeous jewel anemones - but some experts say it takes a night dive to see them at their very best. On a normal day you could expect to come face-to-face with golden snapper, kingfish, john dory, mackerel, scorpion fish, moray eels and crayfish.

There are usually mild currents and visibility is good from February until the end of June.


A unique opportunity for divers of any skill level, the Riwaka Caverns near Nelson are a massive underground network of caves and tunnels, filled with fresh water. A bush walk leads you to the start of the dive, where you slip underwater and swim through a series of enormous caverns.

It's cold and very dark at the beginning but once you surface inside, you can take your scuba equipment off and marvel at the stalactite and stalagmite formations as well as a waterfall of pink limestone inside the cave at the end of the second sump.

Divers comment on the unexpected size of everything to do with this dive - from the boulders they clamber over to the caves themselves. Explorers have so far ventured about 800 metres into the network, called the Riwaka Resurgence.


There are not many places in the world where you can dive around a live volcano but New Zealand is one of them.

White Island, about 50km off the coast of Whakatane, is a 200,000-year-old volcano surrounded by water that is full of marine life, including kingfish, stingrays, moray eels and blue maomao.

Fissures in the rocks create a ''spa-pool'' effect of bubbles in places. The water temperature hovers about 18 degrees but can get to 22 degrees in summer and divers report up to 50m visibility, with reefs, pinnacles, drop-offs, boulders, archways and plateaus to explore. Stop for lunch or to snorkel at Champagne Bay, which gets its name from the thermal activity in the water. Rare diadema urchins have made their home at White Island - check them out at Diadema Rock.


After 18 years in the New Zealand navy, the Wellington is now the most accessible dive wreck on the planet, just off the coast of Wellington, about 10 minutes from the airport. Scuttled in 2005, the wreck has been broken up into three sections by currents and is a living reef, home to many different species of fish.

The wreck is roughly 24m down, with visibility of about eight metres. Being Wellington, divers are warned to watch for currents. Dive around the gun turret or take in the exterior of the ship - diving in the midship and stern sections is not advised. This is as safe as it gets for wreck diving, though, you will not even need a torch.

Article courtesy of Hamilton News - 3/12/12

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