Hiking to the Top of Mount Maunganui, New Zealand
One of New Zealand’s most iconic short hikes takes you from the bustling beach town of Mount Maunganui up to the top of a small mountain overlooking the town. It’s known as both Mount Maunganui and Mauo (or “The Mount” to locals) and it’s an active-wear touting Instagrammers’ delight. It’s also good for the rest of us — find out more about the awesome Mount Maunganui hike, including difficulty, what to bring and what you can see on the way.
Hiking up Mount Maunganui
It’ll take you anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to reach the top of Mount Maunganui. It’s a fairly easy walk but it does get steep and could be a bit of a shock for people not used to hiking up hill. For relatively active people it shouldn’t pose any problems.
The track starts off at the northern end of the beach and the first part is fairly sedate. You’ll soon find a fork in the road – left will take you up the steeper, more direct route while the track on the right winds round a bit more and takes longer. I did the longer route the first time – I still can’t remember why, as choosing the easiest option possible has been a bit of a theme throughout my travels.
So, I’d recommend taking the shorter path. There’s a bit more shade than the other track and, well, it’s shorter! There are a few places to see the views below but to be honest, once you’re past the first part of the track, there isn’t too much to see. There is a little detour to a viewpoint – not a bad view over the harbour, with Tauranga in the distance.
Once at the top of the Mount Maunganui Track, you’ll see some incredible views over the beach, town and inlet / harbour. The trees are a bit overgrown so it’s hard to get good photos, but hopefully you’ll find some decent spots like we did. I reckon they should cut down a whole lot of trees and create some proper viewpoints, but that’s not a very “green” way of thinking!
There isn’t too much else to do at the top. You can get some different views by exploring a little bit, but make sure to not get too close to the edge! Quite a few people have died taking selfies around the world (not at Mount Maunganui that I know of) and it wouldn’t be a great way to go.
On the way back down you could take the longer track, which meets up with the track which goes around the base of Mount Maunganui. You can find out more about that walk, and some others, in my upcoming post about the best things to do in Mount Maunganui.
Mount Maunganui Hike FAQs
- Is it hard? Nope! It was way easier the second time when I took the shorter track and compared to most other hikes I’ve done in New Zealand it’s pretty easy.
- What’s the vibe like? I’d say at least 50 % of the people you’ll see on this track are locals hitting the trail in search of exercise. It’s a bit of an Instagram favourite too, Lulu Lemon activewear (or cheaper alternatives) and headphones is a popular outfit, or for men the shirtless look seems popular.
- How does it compare to other coastal hikes in NZ? I reckon the view at the top is hard to beat, but there isn’t that much to see on this walk. What it lacks in variety it makes up for in convenience though – the track starts at the beach which is right in town. After a quick trip up and down you could head to a gelato shop or a grab a coffee by the beach.
Where to Stay
Mount Maunganui is one of New Zealand’s favourite beach towns and there are heaps of places to stay. We stayed at an Airbnb for a few days but there are plenty of hotel options. You could also stay in nearby Tauranga (it’s essentially the same city) but I’m not sure why you would – Mount Maunganui is the nicer spot.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? Check out my two-week itinerary!
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