One of the main beaches to spend time in the sun in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand is Mount Maunganui. This beach is set apart by the mount that is at the tail end of the beach. This mountain rises to 232 m and has a trail up the mountain and around the base. The views from the top look out across the ocean, Tauranga Harbour and Mount Maunganui city.
The base of the mount is surrounded by rocky outcrops that are good to go snorkelling around, with a stingray spotted one summer that startled the life out of myself and the nearby snorkellers. There are coarse shelly beaches, fringed by the roots of Pohutakawa trees that flower red in the summer. The base trial winds in and under these trees, offering shade, and a relaxing walk as you look out at views across the main beach, off to the nearby islands and out at the harbour.
The main beach itself is marked by crashing waves, coarse sandy beaches, with swathes of broken shells at the high tide lines. There is a well developed surf lifesaving club and through the year marathons, surf life saving events and community events are run up and down the beach, and along the expansive boardwalk that fringes the landward edge of the beach.
Leisure Island extends off the main beach and into the sea. It has a nice, shaded 5 minute trail to the end of the island that has a look out across the ocean to the horizon. There are some nice rocks to stand on and get a good picture, and nice sweeping views of the main beach.
There are many small islands that dot the horizon along the mount, and I had a lot of joy peering through my grandads binoculars when I was a little kid and trying to spot the near and far islands (some of which are only visible on a crystal clear day).
A whole lot of restaurants and coffee line the beach parade. During the summer months they are always jam-packed which I imagine attests to how good each cafe or restaurant is. Recently my partner and I met some friends at Slowfish, where we sat down for a breakfast/brunch-esque meal. I decided to go all out and got the big breakfast. All of us were impressed by the presentation of the meals, and how amazing the food was and I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a meal.
Overall this is a great beach to visit, especially in summer when the pohutakawas are in flower, and I relish every chance I get to head back to this beautiful beach.