New Zealand is famous for it’s stunning landscapes. So many national parks, waterfalls, beaches, lakes and forests to explore and enjoy the scenery. Locals and tourists spend a lot of time outdoors with hiking being extremely popular activity. Have you ever wondered, what is the most popular walk in New Zealand? If this stats is to be trusted, walks surrounding Mount Maunganui are leading the pack.
There are two walks: up and around the Mount. They attract approximately one million people every year, but there is no official stats to determine the exact numbers. These walks are extremely popular with locals. They come here to run, exercise, spend time with family & friends, walk with kids or just sit on a bench and have a chat. Walking one of the Mount tracks is a popular tourist activity as well. Some people come from Auckland (it’s a 3 hours drive) and from other NZ cities, others have a stop at the Mount as a part of their sea cruise.
What makes Mt Maunganui the most popular walk in New Zealand?
Well, there are many things. Views are the main reason. When you walk all the way to the summit, you are treated to the most stunning view of Mount Maunganui, Tauranga and, of course, ocean. Another reason is the variety. You can do an easier Base Track which is approximately 3.4 kilometres and has no elevation changes. It offers breathtaking water views as well as a chance to spot wildlife. There are plenty of spots to stop and soak in the scenery, there are lots of benches along the way. Birds and animals can be seen in multiple locations. We saw shags, Southern black-backed gulls, Rock pigeons and multiple small birds, as well as a fur seal. This track is a great opportunity to enjoy wildlife, learn more about native species as well as for bird watching and photography.
The base track is easy to walk, it suits any age and fitness level. It takes approximately an hour to complete it. It’s not a loop track though, so keep it in mind! Most people start at the Mount Main Beach, walk around the Mount and complete the track at Pilot Bay. To get back to start, you can easily turn left at the end and follow the street. Alternatively, you can continue walking down Pilot Bay to make a longer walk. This will allow you to see the Mount from a different angle, check out some local shops or cafes and enjoy more beach views when you get back to the starting point.
We’ve been based in Tauranga for more than 7 years now, and Mt Maunganui was the first walk we did once we moved here. All these years later, it’s still one of our favourite walks in New Zealand! We now walk it with our baby daughter Emma and she enjoys it as well.