There are a few walks you do at The Mount or Mauoa, as it’s affectionally known, a walk around the base which is 3km long and takes about 45-minutes and two walks to the summit, 232m above sea level, which takes about 40 minutes to an hour depending on your fitness.
Both tracks start from Mount Maunganui Beach with the base track heading off on the left. This is a much easier track with the track leading you around the base with views over the sea, down the coast and the Tauranga Harbour.
Going up the Mount is uphill from the start. You can go up through the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park which means you bypass the first lot of stairs. Back on the track, you head up until you reach the fork in the road where you need to make a decision, left, which is shorter but is nearly all stairs, or right and up the steep path which only has a couple of sets of stairs. You can always do this as a loop walk walking up the stairs and down the path or vice versa.
There is a lookout turnoff about a 100m from the top that overlooks the harbour, but the best views are from the top looking back onto Mount Maunganui and Papamoa Beaches and down the coastline toward Whakatane.
It is well worth the walk up, but this is a hard walk uphill especially on a hot day, so remember your water and sunscreen.
Twenty minutes out of Tauranga is McLaren Falls Park, a 190-hectare parkland set alongside Lake McLaren with McLaren Falls an easy walk away.
A one-way bridge gives you a view of the cascades flowing down from the Mangakarengorengo River. Parking is on the side of the road and then the turnoff into the park is on the right after you cross the bridge.
In the parkland, you can drive around to the attractions or park and walk. Picnic tables are spread out especially alongside McLaren Lake. There are walks in the parkland and a café as well as a walk to the McLaren Falls Waterfall.
This is a loop walk from the carpark following a stream down from the waterfall. At dusk you can also see glow worms.
The park is either a good day out or just a stop to see what you want to but it should be on your list of places to visit when you’re in the area. Especially good for a family day out.