. Plan your visit to Mauao, Mount Maunganui.
Base track . . . (approx. 60 minute - slow stroll ) Difficulty ◉◉◎◎◎
. Everyone's favourite Tauranga pastime includes a gentle, not to be rushed, stroll around the Base track of Mauao, Mount Maunganui. This 3.4 kilometre track, with its gentle undulating gravel surface is suited to all those who are of moderate fitness and/or capability, and can also accommodate (with great care and caution taken), push strollers/prams and wheelchairs.
Every day, hundreds of visitors and Tauranga/Mount Maunganui locals of all ages, stroll, walk or run around the Base track of this special mountain. Whether it be for general recreational purposes, focused excercise/fitness training, seasonal cruise ship viewing, or to simply relax on the shoreline, read a book or socialise with family and friends - the ever popular Base track is an inherent part of living the dream in the lifestyle city of Tauranga.
A walk around the Base track incorporates spectacular beach, ocean, island and harbour views, together with enchanting scenery and unparalleled lookout vantage points. Seating benches are provided at intervals along the track, and there are many delightful, secluded shoreline picnic, fishing and snorkeling spots that can be accessed at low tide. View Base track layout - detailed map
Oruahine track . . . (approx. 40 minutes) Difficulty ◉◉◉◎◎
. The Oruahine track starts from the ocean side of the Base track, just beyond the Mount boardwalk. Once past the small swing gate, the steep stone steps (on the left) is the first challenge that awaits those heading up the mountain via either the Oruahine or Waikorire tracks. From the top of these steps, the immediate view back towards the main beach area and Mount Maunganui provides a snippet of even bigger, more spectacular scenic adventures to follow. The Oruahine track is a stiff uphill walk of 660 metres with some steps and high cliffs/drop-offs in places. The Oruahine track comes to an end part way up the 4WD track. Turn left onto the 4WD track and continue on, up towards the summit. Once on the 4WD track, there is also the option to follow the Motu Kauri track heading directly to the actual summit point.
For awesome views of the big blue Pacific Ocean, towering rock ridges and Matakana Island, the Oruahine track is unbeatable. Young children must be closely supervised on the second half of the Oruahine track (beyond the lighthouse beacon), as there are cliffs/drop-offs together with possible high winds at times. View Oruahine track layout - detailed map
Waikorire track . . . (approx. 30 minutes) Difficulty ◉◉◉◉◎
. Halfway up the Oruahine track, a left turn onto the Waikorire track of 600 metres will provide visitors with some great views of Mount Maunganui, the beachfront area and Pilot Bay. The Waikorire track has several stairs and stairways, and is a 'daily staple' with many local fitness enthusiasts that run up and down this track as part of their workout and exercise routine.
The ascent can be tough going, but once the stairs are overcome, the track continues its way up and through the cool, dense subtropical canopy that lines the upper inner harbour slopes of the mountain. Look for the right turn at the lookout intersection (onto the Motu Kauri track) if you want to reach the summit, otherwise the Waikorire track continues on to meet up with the 4WD track. From here, it is possible to either head up to the summit (on the 4WD track), or return back down the mountain towards Pilot Bay. View Waikorire track layout - detailed map
Motu Kauri track . . . (approx. 10 minutes) Difficulty ◉◉◎◎◎
. The short Motu Kauri track provides a direct link between the Waikorire track or 4WD track and the summit point of Mauao. This track has some steep stairways, and can be a little slippery in wet weather. There are not too many views or photo opportunities along this track due to the thick subtropical rainforest-like environment. The tree canopy and surrounding vegetation is filled with the sound of rustling leaves and birdsong, as some of the resident bird species go about their daily foraging. View Motu Kauri track layout - detailed map
4WD track . . . (approx. 60 minutes) Difficulty ◉◉◉◎◎
. The almost 2 kilometre long 4WD track starts at the end of Pilot Bay, on the Tauranga Harbour side of the mountain. Visitors can use this track (with few stairs) to walk to, or return from the summit of Mauao. Visitors are reminded that private/public vehicles are not permitted on the track, unless specifically directed for maintenance and/or emergency purposes. The 4WD track has a gradual, but steady incline. The section just past where the Oruahine track joins the 4WD track, is steep with a loose gravel surface in places. The track does however, level out a little further on towards the summit.
The picturesque 4WD track boasts expansive views of Tauranga, Pilot Bay, Tauranga Harbour, Matakana Island and the distant Kaimai Ranges. The uphill walk, along and through the rolling green terraces and surrounding open landscape, is better suited for younger children, or those who are not keen on stairs (Waikorire track) or heights (Oruahine track). Once at the summit, enjoy a picnic or well deserved refreshment with incredible 360 degree panoramic views of Tauranga, the Western Bay of Plenty, the Pacific Ocean and close by Matakana, Karewa, Mayor, Motiti, Moturiki/Leisure and Motuotau/Rabbit islands. View 4WD track layout - detailed map
Top of Mauao > Many first time visitors to Mauao, opt to take the more scenic Oruahine track all the way up to the 4WD track, and then continue on the 4WD track to the summit. On the return downhill trip, follow the Motu Kauri track down to where it intercepts the Waikorire track. Turn right onto the Waikorire track and follow it along until you reach the 4WD track. On reaching the 4WD track, turn left and head downhill (along the 4WD track) all the way to Pilot Bay at the base of the mountain. This route gives an all encompassing experience of the mountain, and all the different environments, landscapes and sightseeing opportunities. A good level of fitness is required. Allow at least 2 hours for this return trip. Wear suitable footwear, and remember to take along some dinking water, sun hat, camera etc...
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