You’re passing through the Bay of Plenty on the North Island of New Zealand and only have 24 hours to soak up as much surf, sand, and sun time as you can.
Avast! Is it possible to pack everything in? There are countless areas to explore, so hopefully you can find a couple extra days to spend here.
Gasp! If this is the only time you have, here’s our top picks for 24 hours of fun in an area called Mt. Maunganui, within the Bay of Plenty.
Rise and shine fancy pants. Hop out of your campervan, hotel room, or apartment rental and go for a good morning stroll along Ocean Beach. As you greet fellow morning walkers, this peaceful stroll of endless blue ocean and warming sun will get you going for the day.
Brekkie along the beachfront strip is a must. On weekends, this area is booming around 11am for brunch. Sidetrack Café has well portioned options, strong & delicious coffee, with friendly folk helping you.
Okay, we admit. This place is so awesome that we went here twice a day, whether it be for coffee, snack, or a proper meal.
Extra hungry? Along with your brekkie, grab a warmed-up savory feta, spinach, and sundried tomato muffin for take away.
Here on a Sunday? Visit the local farmer’s market for fresh juices, produce, baked goods, honeys, plants, and even Belgian waffles. With ingredients like ginger, beetroot, honey, and pear, the fresh juice stand is a cleansing must.
For scrumptious and health-conscious baked goods, pop over to the Lavish Foods stall where you can sink your teeth into gluten-free brownies, tasty muffins, and even gluten-free pizzas to cook at home.
Every Sunday, 9am-1pm, in the parking lot on Mt. Maunganui rd.
Meet East Coast Paddler for a morning SUP session at Pilot Bay, where the waters are usually calm in the morning, protected by Mt. Maunganui. Owners Hiria & Seaton Rolleston are beyond cool, fun, and helpful. Whether it’s your first time or you’re a well-seasoned salty scallywag on the board, this company will get you set up and out on the water in no time.
That’s pretty gosh darned cool: When the New Zealand Women’s Sevens Team came out to the Bay of Plenty for training games, they got some SUP cross training in with East Coast Paddler.
You’re famished from putt, putt, puttin’ around and need some serious replenishment. If you feel like strolling into Tauranga (a 5 minute drive), get your nosh on at Cornerstone Pub, a local favorite in a prime spot along the bay. Phew, they still serve brekkie right now. Order the CrossFit Breakfast, a protein packed helping of eggs, steak, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, avocado and tomato. Ya, you deserve some locally brewed beer, too.
A stop in Mt. Maunganui isn’t complete without a trek around or up “the Mount”. Sitting at the cusp of Tauranga and its port, Mt. Maunganui provides stunning views of the South Pacific Ocean and the long stretches of beach that seamlessly glide into it.
“I’m here for the scenery” Option: Take the 3.4k walk around the base of Mt. Maunganui. There’s more than enough spots to pop a squat and soak up the view. Best done with a snack and a friend.
“I’m here to sweat and feel like I’m on the top of the world” Option: Depending on how intense you’re feeling, you can run or walk up this winding trail up to the top of Mt. Maunganui. Give yourself one to two hours for this.
A cultural experience. This area holds a deep significance within the Maori culture and history. When this area was under attack, the Maori living here would move to the top of the mountain and fight off invaders from this vantage point. You can still see the various levels cut out in the mountain-side that were once used for building homes on.
Though we prefer a hangi (bbq, nosh fest, luau, you get the picture) along the bayside (there are bbq’s here, but be sure to check that there is adequate gas first), there are several dining options along the main street to choose from. Thai, pub grub, Mediterranean, and then some.
Craving an evening cocktail and some unique décor? Major Toms Bar is a cozy spot with stacked books, hanging lampshades, and a chillin’ crowd. On a warm evening, there’s a patio to sip your drink on. I’ll cheers to that.