When we read that around 900,000 people walk or run around the base of Mauao (the dormant volcanic cone) in Mount Maunganui every year, I have to admit we were sceptical. It just seemed unlikely, but a few days camping at the base of Mauao at Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park showed us just how popular the walk around (and up) the mountain is.
We chose a camp site closest to the beach, just in front of the caravan was a path to one of the walking tracks, the people flow was constant. There was no way we could have stayed and not walked around the mountain at least once – the people of Mount Maunganui are good fitness role models that’s for sure.
The base track is an easy 3.4km walk and takes around 40 minutes. There’s a picnic table and bench seats along the way.
You might see rabbits, and will definitely see sheep. Around eighty cruise ships dock in Mount Maunganui during the cruise season so there may be one or two in port.
I’ve also walked one of the summit tracks, I came to a choice of two and chose the steeper, shorter route. I regretted my decision a couple of times as I puffed my way to the top. Either way the views are worth it once you’ve climbed the 232 metres to the summit. (There are a few tracks to the summit, some are narrow so take care, especially after bad weather).
On my way down a little quail family ran out of the bush in front of me, I also spotted a Tui. Whether you choose to go up or around it’s a short walk worth doing, just don’t plan on having the track to yourself.
Camping – Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park, 1 Adams Avenue
Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park is really popular and it’s one of our favourite camping spots. The facilities are modern and well kept, it’s next to the Mount Hot Pools and sits alongside the beach …
It is the most expensive holiday park we’ve stayed in though, at peak times the fee for a powered site is $63. We’ve tended to stay in the shoulder seasons and paid $42 – $47 for a site for two (there’s no extra charge for showers). Want beach views? My tip would be to ask for a site numbered 65 – 74, these sites are slightly elevated and get the best views.
Across the road from the holiday park are several cafes, Sidetrack is our pick. The cafe’s always busy, but the photo below shows how they take the time to present the humble sausage roll. You’ll have to trust me on the muffins, and if you’ve climbed to the summit of Mount Maunganui you may well have burned the calories in advance.