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Walk the Mount Maunganui volcano: All you need to know

View from Mount Maunganui after a walk to the summit

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Mount Maunganui is a small volcano you can walk up at the end of a small suburb on the Tauranga peninsula. The town has a laid-back and relaxed vibe and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes.

It is most known for the extinct volcano of the same name which offers panoramic views over the region as well as multiple footpaths to reach the summit.

Although Mount Maunganui is sometimes classed as its own small town, it is mostly known as a suburb of Tauranga. Many visitors to the Tauranga region make a stop here to enjoy a relaxing walk along Main Beach or the Maunganui Mount hiking trail.

Country:New Zealand
Currency:New Zealand Dollar / NZD
Do you need a visa to visit as a tourist?Check here

Don’t forget to get travel insurance to cover you if something bad happens. One company I have personal experience with is Safety Wing. Not everyone needs the same coverage, so make sure you get a personalised quote that suits you and your trip plans.


Location of the Mount Maunganui walk

The “mount” as New Zealanders like to call it, is located in the Bay of Plenty on the east coast of New Zealand’s north island.

Since many places are close together on the north island it’s relatively easy to get from one town to another.

  • From Rotorua, it’s less than an hour by car.
  • Hamilton would take 1 hour and 35 minutes.
  • From Auckland, it would take 2 hrs 40 minutes.

Mount Maunganui itself is located at the very end of the coastal peninsula. If driving you can easily access the peninsula by one of two bridges from Tauranga – Tauranga Harbour Bridge which brings you out by the airport and Maungatapu Bridge which goes around the Rangataua Bay.

If you are walking around the area on foot you will need to pass both Maunganui Beach on your right and Pilot Bay Beach on your left.

If you’d like to visit Tauranga independently, consider getting a rental car.

Parking

Although the Mount doesn’t have its own designated parking area, there are 3 local car parks within walking distance. Each of them are available for public use with no limit on hours used in the day, but you cannot park in them overnight.

If you are caught parking here overnight you run the risk of getting a parking ticket and in more extreme cases having your car towed away.

Car park Address
Pilot Quay car parkPilot Quay, Mount Maunganui 3116, New Zealand
Pilot Quay Beach parking10-16 The Mall, Mount Maunganui 3116, NZ
Public car park18 Marine Parade, Mount Maunganui 3116, NZ

Tip: If you plan on visiting during spring or summer you need to arrive EARLY as the parking spaces are snapped up very quickly. Weekends are also much busier than the week.

When you need to transfer money or check exchange rates during your overseas trip, consider using Wise. They have competitive rates and make exchanging foreign funds easy. I’ve been using them since 2015.

Foliage on Mount Maunganui
View of Mount Maunganui from the bottom of the trail

Trail stats

Trail length:

6.4km / 3.97 miles

Time to complete:

45 mins – 1 hour

Elevation:

253m at the summit

One thing that makes the mount so great is that there are multiple ways to climb to the summit. They all meet at the same point at the top but take a slightly different route from the base of the (extinct) volcano.

If you take the “sheep route” as it’s known you’ll likely be doing a more strenuous workout than the other routes available to you.

The sheep route takes you along the eastern side of the mount past the sheep that graze on the hill. To your right-hand side, you’ll see endless views of the Bay of Plenty and the Pacific Ocean. The trail will take you up staircases and a constant uphill incline in a loop.

Make sure to stay on the trail as the mount has some steep drop-offs. You need to be aware of cliff edges to avoid injury while hiking.

sheep eatinggrass on the east side of the Mount Maunganui walk
The sheep that graze on the east side of the Mount

Accessibility

Because most of the track has a paved trail it’s safe for everyone and people of all fitness levels to use. It is also deemed accessible for children’s pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Please note: However there are some short sections that are fairly steep so you should always use caution.

There are a few small openings in the foliage at the edge of the trail that lead to a steep drop down the mount. If you are not careful you could quite easily fall. It is always advised to walk only on the paved trail.

The Mount Maunganui walk

As you walk along the Mount Maunganui trail you will travel gradually around from one side of the volcano to the other. Some parts of the trail are covered over by foliage and trees and others are completely uncovered and in the direct line of the sun.

As you may be aware, the sun above New Zealand is much stronger than you may be used to due to the hole in the ozone layer. This means you should take extra care and use sunscreen if spending a lot of time outside!

The entire loop can take around 1.5 hours of continuous walking.

on top of mount maunganui at the viewpoint
Me at the viewpoint

Stunning views

One of the most iconic views from the top of the Mount Maunganui walk is the view of the peninsula and the beaches on either side. This can be seen when facing southeast or facing the direction that you started the frail from.

Once you reach the summit there are a few picnic benches for you to sit and relax on while you take a break from walking. On a sunny day, this area can get busy so don’t be surprised if the summit gets a bit crowded.

This has to be one of the best effort-for-ratio walks in the region. In under an hour, you get this fantastic view and you’ll barely break a sweat!

It’s no surprise that locals talk so highly about the walk around Mount Maunganui.

Want to do some more hiking in New Zealand? Check out these trails:

me paddle boarding in front of the mount
Me paddle boarding in front of Mount Maunganui near Pilot Bay Beach

Activities in the area

  • Water sports – Paddle boarding and kayaking are two of the best activities to do in the area. You can stay close to the shore if you’re new to the sports and you can take to the water at your own pace.
  • Have a beach day – The peninsula has multiple long beaches for visitors to enjoy. Take a dip in the water or lounge around on the beach. It’s up to you!
  • Sightseeing cruise – If you want to see Mt Maunganui and the Tauranga region from the sea, then this is a great tour to embark on. You’ll get to spend a half-day on a boat exploring the Bay of Plenty and photographing local wildlife.
  • Swim with dolphins – Enjoy this half-day swimming with dolphins tour. What’s great is the dolphins are wild and not in captivity. This tour will take you to an area where dolphins naturally swim and you will snorkel nearby.
  • Skydive – You can enjoy a 12,000ft tandem skydive and see Mount Maunganui and Tauranga from a new perspective. This takes guts!


Accommodation

If you like to stay in hostels for a social experience, then I always recommend using Hostelworld to find the ideal place to stay. You can easily narrow down the search by filtering amenities and features that are important to you.

If instead you’re driving a self-contained vehicle and would like to stay in that, you can use the New Zealand Rankers app to find suitable freedom parking & paid camping spots available in the local area. Not only that but the app will also give you a map of local camping and DOC sites for visitors to use.

You can download the app here:

In order to stay connected during your time in New Zealand, consider getting an eSIM through Airalo. They’re convenient and can be downloaded directly to your device in no time.


View from opposite side of the Mount Maunganui peninsula walk
This is the view from the other side of the peninsula

Summary of the Mount Maunganui walk

Want some more volcano hiking inspiration? Check these out from around the world:

If you happen to be in the Tauranga or Bay of Plenty region you’ll have plenty of time to walk to the top of Mount Maunganui. It takes almost no time at all, and you’d be silly to pass up on these views.

Have you been to Mount Maunganui yet? If so, what did you think?

Need help planning your trip?

Check out how to plan a trip abroad & see my travel resources for more.

WayAway – Great for booking flights. They even have a cashback feature for those who fly frequently.
Skyscanner – A comprehensive comparison website showing where to purchase flights.
HostelWorld – The biggest selection of hostels & sociable accommodations.
Booking.com – The largest collection of accommodations worldwide.

Safety Wing – A travel insurance brand for long-term travellers and nomads.

Airalo – An eSIM card company that lets you stay connected during your trip.
Wise – Perfect for transferring foreign currencies.
iVisa – For applying for tourist and visitor visas.

Viator – Great for finding tours and activities worldwide.
Get Your Guide – Another company for finding activities.
Klook – Have some of the best activity deals in Asia.

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