Mount Maunganui, also know as “The Mount” to locals, is a popular beach town in the Bay of Plenty – just 2.5 hours’ drive from Auckland and located on the stunning East Coast of the North Island.
If you’re driving in from Auckland, you’ll want to make sure you stop at Blueberry Country in Ngatea for fresh real fruit ice-cream and blueberry picking, as well as Paeroa, home to the famous Kiwi fizzy drink L&P (Lemon and Paeroa). Blueberry Country, 229 Central Rd S, Ngatea 3576.
Shopping and local craft
When you arrive at the Mount, you’ll find lots of great shops, cafés, fresh produce and beautiful coastline. There are lots of local makers and creatives in Mount Maunganui who sell their goods at stores around town. You’ll find really cool homewares shops, gift stores and clothing stores stocking local and international brands. Make sure to stop at Neon Gypsy boutique for beautiful boho clothing, and for homewares check out Paper Plane store and Été at the Mount for gifts, books, leather goods and gorgeous home décor. Été at the Mount, 98 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui; Paper Plane, 99 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui; Neon Gypsy, 176 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui.
Mount Maunganui has a thriving café culture and one of my favourites is Café 88, who are known for their sweet treats, great coffee and arty decor. If you’re stopping by, the carrot cake is a must-try, as well as their date and banana smoothie. Other favourites are Luca, a hole in the wall, no frills coffee stop and The Batch for a fresh and seasonal menu with beach-inspired interiors. Café 88, 88 Maunganui Rd, Mt Maunganui; Luca Coffee, 90 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui; The Batch, 108 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui.
Beach and hiking
Down by the water, you’ll find Mount Maunganui itself and a coastline that stretches as far as the eye can see. Hiking up Mount Maunganui is a popular hike and is also beautiful at sunrise and sunset. There are two routes up the mountain, a shorter steeper route, and a longer moderate route which both take around an hour return, making time for photo stops. Reaching the top boasts incredible views of the never-ending coastline and vast Pacific Ocean below.
After the walk, there are so many dinner options in town. Choose to enjoy some fish and chips on the beach or try out my favourite Mexican in town – The Barrio Brothers, where you’ve just got to try their prawn tacos.
There are plenty of bars and delicious restaurants to spend your evenings at. Mount Maunganui is known for its great food and friendly locals and you’ll experience this wherever you choose to take a seat. The Barrio Brothers, 101 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui.
If you follow the coast south, the beach stretches for miles and just 15 minutes away is Papamoa, which is much quieter than The Mount and just as beautiful. If you’re down here, you’ve got to try local cafe Henry & Ted, who have delicious eats. A must-try is their peanut butter latte! Henry & Ted, 5 Golden Sands Dr, Papamoa Beach, Papamoa.
During the weekend, both Papamoa and Mount Maunganui host craft and farmers markets which are well worth the visit. There’s always live music, seasonal produce and fresh juices and coffee up for grabs. The Sunday Farmers Market at Mount Maunganui are held every Sunday from 9am to 1pm in the Phoenix car park, right in the middle of the main street of Downtown the Mount. Rain or shine!
Whatever you choose to fill your time with, Mount Maunganui does not disappoint and is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy the beach town vibes.
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