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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook


BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Bay of Plenty > Tauranga & Mount Maunganui

Tauranga & Mount Maunganui

With a population of 109,000, the port city of Tauranga is the largest in the Bay of Plenty, and one of New Zealand’s fastest growing areas. The Strand area along the waterfront has become home to cafés, restaurants, bars and a buzzing nightlife over the last several years. Tauranga is also a major centre for the surrounding kiwifruit growing region; most of the work is available during the winter harvest months.

Mount Maunganui, on a peninsula just north of its twin city of Tauranga, is a more popular holiday destination with Kiwis than with international travellers. Its main feature is the large dormant volcano that dominates the landscape. The 16km white sandy surf beach is considered one of the top surf spots in New Zealand. There’s a good selection of shops and eateries along the Mount’s main street, and the town is home to the massive Bayfair shopping centre. Other attractions include hot salt water pools and hikes up to the top of the volcano cone, a rewarding experience.

Both Tauranga and Mount Maunganui have their unique attractions and both cities offer good accommodation options. Mount Maunganui has the beach and a resort-town feel, but Tauranga offers a more vibrant urban setting. Your choice, but it’s hard to go too far wrong either way.

Practical information

Tauranga i-SITE Visitor Centre

95 Willow Street, Tauranga
Tel (07) 578 8103
Website www.bayofplentynz.com
Open Mon-Fri 7am-5.30pm, Sat-Sun 8am-4pm

Mount Maunganui i-SITE Visitor Centre

Salisbury Avenue, Mount Maunganui
Tel (07) 575 5099
Website www.bayofplentynz.com
Open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

Department of Conservation

253 Chadwick Road, West Greerton
Tel (07) 578 7677
Website www.bayofplentynz.com
Open 8am-4.30pm daily


Piccadilly Arcade, Grey Street, Tauranga
Tel (07) 578 0140
Website www.cybersurf.co.nz
Open Mon-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 10am-4pm, Su 11am-4pm


Esquires Coffee in the Goddards Centre (21 Devonport Street, Tauranga) has free Wi-Fi access.

Coming & going

InterCity Coachlines (tel (09) 623 1503) and Nakedbus.com have buses to Auckland, Opotiki and Rotorua and Nakedbus.com also has direct services to Waitomo. Go Kiwi (tel (07) 866 0336) also have a shuttle service from Tauranga and Mount Maunganui to Auckland, Hamilton and the the Coromandel Peninsula.

In Tauranga, InterCity stops outside the i-SITE Visitor Centre (95 Willow street, Tauranga) and Nakedbus.com stops at the Wharf Street bus terminal. In Mount Maunganui, both InterCity and Nakedbus.com stop outside the i-SITE Visitor Centre (Salisbury Avenue, Mount Maunganui).

Bayline Coaches (tel 0800 422 9287 (0800 BAYBUS)) run regional bus services within the Bay of Plenty with services to Opotiki, Rotorua and Whakatane.

Local transport

Bayline Coaches (tel 0800 422 9287 (0800 BAYBUS)) run the Bay Hopper bus service in the Tauranga and Mount Maunganui area. A one-way trip costs between $1.50 and $3 or you can buy a Day Saver ticket for $6, which lets you travel on any Tauranga and Mount Maunganui buses. The most popular bus routes for most backpackers are routes 1, 2 and 6, which run between Tauranga and Mount Maunganui; route 3, which runs from Just the Ducks Nuts hostel into central Tauranga and routes 3 and 10, which run between Bell Lodge and central Tauranga.

Hostel accommodation

Bell Lodge

39 Bell Street, Judea
Tel (07) 578 6344

Harbourside City Backpackers

105 The Strand, Tauranga
Tel (07) 579 4066

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Just the Duck’s Nuts

6 Vale Street, Otumoetai
Tel (07) 576 1366

Loft 109

109 Devonport Road, Tauranga
Tel (07) 579 5638

Tauranga Central Backpackers

62-64 Willow Street, Tauranga
Tel (07) 571 6222

YHA Tauranga

171 Elizabeth Street, Tauranga
Tel (07) 578 5064

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Mount Backpackers

87 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
Tel (07) 575 0860

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Pacific Coast Backpackers

432 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui
Tel (07) 574 9601 or 0800 666 622

Eating & drinking

The majority of Tauranga’s restaurants and bars can be found along The Strand, although many of the surrounding streets have little cafés and restaurants as well. Orange Zephyr (15 Wharf Street, Tauranga) is a cool little restaurant/bar/music venue. A few doors down is the Crown & Badger (corner The Strand & Wharf Street, Tauranga), a traditional British pub.

The Grumpy Mole (41 The Strand, Tauranga) is a popular late-night backpacker spot, part of a Wild West, saloon-themed chain. The Coyote Bar (107 The Strand, Tauranga) is another late-night party place, this time with a South-western US, Santa Fe-style theme.

The Sunrise Café (10 Wharf Street, Tauranga) does great breakfasts. One of the most highly-recommended spots for a cheap bite is the Fresh Fish Market (Dive Crescent, Tauranga), serving up fresh-as fish and chips right on the waterfront.

In Mount Maunganui, most places are concentrated on Maunganui Road; there’s a good selection including Chinese restaurants, cafés, fast food and takeaways, as well as more stylish options.

In Tauranga, you find several supermarkets on Cameron Road south of the city centre including: Countdown (618 Cameron Road, Tauranga), Foodtown (683 Cameron Road, Tauranga) and Pak’n Save (476 Cameron Road, Tauranga).

In Mount Maunganui there’s a New World supermarket (corner Tweed and Maunganui Roads, Mount Maunganui) and also branches of Countdown and Woolworths in the Bayfair shopping centre (Girvan Road, Mount Maunganui).


Tauranga and Mount Maunganui don’t have any major sights, but there are several things to do. Apart from climbing the Mount, the most popular activity is swimming with the dolphins.

Climbing Mount Maunganui

This 232m extinct volcano dominates the centre of Mount Maunganui. At the end of the Mall take the walking track to the summit for a great view. It’s a 45-minute walk to the top and 25 minutes back down.

Learning to surf

Mount Maunganui is a popular surfing destination. Hibiscus Surf School (tel (07) 575 3792), Mount Maunganui Surf Academy (tel (07) 574 3240) and New Zealand Surf School (tel (07) 574 1666) hold surf lessons several times a day during summer (Nov-mid Apr). A two-hour lesson costs $80.


You can jump from between 8000 and 12000ft above Mount Maunganui with Tauranga Tandem Skydiving (tel (07) 576 7990). Tandem jumps start at $220 for an 8000ft jump and go up to $310 for a 12000ft jump; a freefall video is an additional $150.

Swimming with dolphins

Several companies offer boat trips where you can swim with dolphins. Sometimes you can also see fur seals, blue penguins, whales and turtles on these trips.

Dolphin Seafaris (tel (07) 575 4620 or 0800 326 8747) trips depart from Mount Maunganui, take three to four hours and cost $120.

Tauranga Dolphin Company (tel (07) 578 3197 or 0800 836 574) trips depart from both Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, usually last for at least five hours and cost $120.

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