The summit walk is my fitness hike when I'm in Tauranga

Along with a lot of locals, we all love the walk to the summit of Mount Maunganui, it’s an excellent workout, rewarded by stunning views. The route can be different each time, depending on how hard you want it.

At the summit the views are awesome, and well worth the huff and puff. You can see Mount Beach, the inner harbour, Pilot Bay and port, Matakana Island, para ponts, ships and boats coming and going through the small harbour entrance, just fantastic.

If you’d like to learn more about the tales and myths that surround Mount Maunganui, including the arrival of the Maori in New Zealand, click here to download a Self-Guided 3 Hour Audio Tour to listen to as you walk around.

If you don’t feel up to walking to the top you can do the walk around the base of the mount instead.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Mt Maunganui, Bay Of Plenty, North Island
  • Distance: 3.80 km
  • Time needed: 1 Hour 20 minutes no stopping
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Wheelchair Access: No
  • Route: Round Trip
  • Elevation: 231m
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: Yes, at the surf club. There is a water fountain there too.
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Yes

Summary points about this walk

Full description of the Mount Maunganui Summit Walk

Start of the walk up Mt Maunganui Summit Track from Pilot Bay

We like to walk up the road and come down the steeper side of the Mount for this walk. It’s a slightly easier walk without all the hundreds of stairs to climb on the way up.

To find the start of the track, walk up to the mountain keeping Pilot Bay on your left shoulder. A road runs between the motorhome, campground and the beach. Follow this road around to the left. Keep a look out for a track on your right, if you end up at the wharf, you have gone too far.

Walk up this track for 3 minutes, then take the next gate on the right, once through the gate turn to the left. You are now on the main track to the top.

Walk past the water tank

From the gate to the water tank is a gentle (3 min) uphill hike. The views over to the left and out into the inner harbour will take your mind off the climb. Watch out for the sheep, they wonder around freely here.

Walk uphill to the top of Mt Maunganui peak

Just past the tank, is a gate to open. Now this is where the adventure starts. Uphill all the way to the top. Halfway up is a sharp right-hand corner, stop for a breather and look over the bank and down to the harbour entrance.

Out in the distance (27 km) is the Kaimai Ranges. Down in front of you is Matakana Island; you might be able to see the farmland in the distance.

Site on the seat and enjoy the stunning views

Up around the next corner is a sign giving you two ways to the top. Follow the main track to the left; you will meet up with the other track later.

15 mins to the top is good going, allow for 20! The next plateau you walk onto is where the brave boys fly off the cliff face hanging onto their hand gliders for dear life. The model plane clubs also use this spot to fly from, the day we were there the hand gliders and model planes were fighting for air superiority, guess who won?

Walk further on to get views out to the Mount beach and Pilot Bay

Was it worth the climb – oh yes! Walk out onto the viewing platform for the best photos.

On a warm summer night, hike up around 5 pm. With a backpack full of goodies to eat and something to drink. Sit on the top look out over Tauranga and watch the sun setting. Just awesome.

Don’t forget the torch. Equally good is getting up just before first thing in the morning and watching the sun rise – even more awesome!

The return walk is a different way down

Here’s the easy part. Walk past the monument and follow the track down into the trees. From here on it is downhill all the way.

There are a few steps to walk down but they are new and strong. After about 5 minutes you will come to a T section, turn to the left onto the Base track via the Waikorere track. There is a large marker stone to the right of this track.

Quite a few steps this way down

The first few minutes of this walk is through light native bush. Then you walk over a bridge and around a corner to great views of the mount.

Looking down to the bottom you will see the Mount Thermal Hot Pools. Very popular on a cold night. The steps on this side of the mountain are a little steep, so take your time on the way down.

Last few steps along the walk

The next turn off to the right is easy, just keep walking down hill. The track to the left will take you back the road you walked up earlier.

As you walk down, you will see a light beacon on your right then down the hill is another gate. This paddock usually has sheep in it so watch where you step with your clean shoes.

Down this track walk for about another 5 minutes on a right-hand corner you will see the old stone steps leading down a gully, take this track.

End of the walk out onto Mt Maunganui beach past the campground

From the stone steps, you can look down to the beach and the boardwalk along the beach.

Watch out when walking on the stone steps, they can be a little slippery when wet. When you meet up with the base track, turn to the right and walk 5m to the gate on the left. Once through the gate follow the boardwalk to the Mount cafés and restaurants, you deserve the break!

Take the boardwalk to the shops

The next building you come to after the campground is the surf club. In the surf club, there are public toilets, changing rooms and a tap for you to wash the sand of your feet before heading off for a coffee or ice cream.

More things to do near Mt Maunganui

More of my walks in Mount Maunganui near Tauranga

Mt Maunganui Base Track - Point 6||||Mt Maunganui Base Track Walk

Mt Maunganui Base Track Walk

3.50 kms • 40 Minutes • Very Easy
Walk details →
Start of the Moturiki Island walk Mount Maunganui Walks -

Moturiki Island Walk

1 km • 30 Minutes • Very Easy
Walk details →