Any trip to Mount Maunganui in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty region is incomplete without making it to the top of the town’s iconic mount for panoramic views.
Most locals worth their salt will complete the short, but tough ascent at least once a week, with many making it part of their daily routine. And for the fitness fanatics in the area, a morning workout includes running up the 232m before heading back down for work.
The elevation may not sound impressive to mountain hikers and climbers, but when setting off from sea level, the incline is actually quite steep. Throw in summer humidity and it’s a decent workout to get the blood pumping.
Reaching the Summit
The trail starts at the base of the mount in front of the Surf Life Saving Club on the beachfront boardwalk. The first part includes a section of steps past grazing sheep followed by a straight path before reaching a crossroads. This gives walkers or runners the option of taking the quicker but steeper route with steps on the left, or gradually winding up the mount on the right. Although the left route may seem tough, it’s more enjoyable as the path takes people through sub tropical bush with views across Main Beach. Also, it only takes 40 minutes to reach the top (or less depending on fitness), whereas the right route can take up to an hour.
If reaching the summit on a clear day, the views of the ocean and across to Matakana Island will make all the hard work worthwhile. Be sure to take a camera, plus water to rehydrate at the top! And for the walk down, it’s nice to take the other route and gently wind down on the opposite side of the mount for an alternative view.
Mount Maunganui Cafe Scene
Now for the best part. Coffee and breakfast at one of Mount Maunganui’s many cafes. For a real Mount Maunganui experience, take a seat at the patio at one of several cafes overlooking the beach. Or head downtown for my personal favourite, Cafe 88. The Energiser Breakfast is perfect for refueling, and their quaint courtyard is lined with plants. After years of visiting Mount Maunganui, it never fails to impress.
Have you visited Mount Maunganui? Comment below with any other suggestions.