Summit Mount Maunganui to watch the sunrise. © Bay of Plenty NZ 

Drink in the view from the top of Mount Maunganui


Mount Maunganui is the iconic landmark of the Bay of Plenty region – standing sentry over sprawling white sand, turquoise surf breaks and happy holidaymakers. 

The proper Māori name for Mount Maunganui – Mauao – means ‘caught in the light of the day.’ Legend tells of a once nameless hill, whose affections were spurned by the beautiful female mountain, Puwhenua. Heartbroken and hopeless, the hill decided to drown himself in the ocean and called on the patupaiarehe – the fairy folk – to help. But time ran out and, as the sun rose, the hill was forever frozen in place at the entrance of Tauranga Moana: caught by the morning sun.

Today, if you take on the challenge to slog up its slopes, you’ll be in the perfect spot to snap a summer selfie. 

Choose from a gentle 3.4-kilometre meander around the base of the big hill to a brisk 20-minute walk to the 232-metre summit via the steeper tracks. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular 360º views along the plentiful coastline. 

On a clear day, you’ll see Whakaari / White Island simmering away on the horizon and, to the north, the intriguing shapes of Rangiwaea and Matakana Islands. 

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