Mount Maunganui

Mount Maunganui

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Mount Maunganui is a town in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand, located on a peninsula to the north of Tauranga. It was independent from Tauranga until the completion of the Tauranga Harbour Bridge in 1988.

Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcanic cone that rises above the town, which is now officially known by its Māori name Mauao,[citation needed] but is colloquially known in New Zealand simply as The Mount.

Mount Maunganui is located on top of a sand bar that connects Mauao to the mainland, a geographical formation known as a tombolo. Because of this formation, the residents of Mount Maunganui have both a harbour beach (Pilot Bay) and an ocean beach with great surf, within a short distance. At the base of Mauao, the distance between the harbour and ocean side is a couple of blocks.

The ocean beach has Mauao[1][dead link] or Mount Maunganui at its western end, and a man made land bridge connecting Moturiki Island at its eastern end.[2]

Mauao is an extinct volcanic cone which rises above the town, but is colloquially known in New Zealand simply as The Mount. According to Maori legend, this hill was a pononga [slave] to a mountain called Otanewainuku.[3] The conical headland which gives the town its name is 232 metres (761 ft) in height, and dominates the mostly flat surrounding countryside. It was formerly a Māori pā, and the remains of trenches can be seen in the ridges, as well as ancient shell middens. Today, it is open to the public year round, and is a popular place to either walk around, or climb up. From the summit, a good stretch of coastline can be seen in either direction, as well as the Kaimai Range to the west.

Named after the hulking 232m hill that punctuates the sandy peninsula occupied by the township, up-tempo Mt Maunganui is often just called ‘the Mount’, or Mauao, which translates as ‘caught by the light of day’. It’s considered part of greater Tauranga, but really it's an enclave unto itself, with great cafes and restaurants, hip bars and fab beaches. Sun-seekers flock to the Mount in summer, supplied by an increasing number of 10-storey apartment towers studding the spit. Online, see www.mountmaunganui.org.nz for information.