I am incredibly lucky to have called Mount Maunganui home for a few years. In New Zealand, “The Mount” is famous for its stunning views, it’s endless white-sand beach, and it’s laid-back surf lifestyle.

As you will see, it also makes for a dream travel photography location. The mountain alone will keep your camera focused without ever running out of new angles or perspectives.

So, here are 12 of my favourite photos of Mount Maunganui:

1. Tauranga Bridge Marina

Landscape photo of boats in Tauranga Bridge Marina, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

This is one of the first photos I took after moving to The Mount. It initially wasn’t an image I liked, but one I found and re-edited a while later while searching through my photo-archives.

2. The Cross

Landscape of rocks under Mount Maunganui at twilight

This photo of the rocks on the north side of the mountain was a happy accident that I took while playing with seascapes one night. I found this crack in the rocks, and as the water flowed in and out during the long-exposure, it created a cross shape.

3. Mount Maunganui Sunset

Canvas print of landscape photo of rocks at sunset, Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

One of the last images I made before leaving The Mount, this was taken while exploring the base of the mountain after a beautiful, hot summer weekend.


4. Driftwood Seat

Driftwood bench seat on sand dunes overlooking Mount Maunganui Beach at sunset

I was lucky to get a photo of this driftwood seat that somebody had made on Mount Maunganui Beach because somebody unfortunately destroyed or stole it soon after. It was a great seat for sitting and watching the stunning beach.

5. Moturiki Island

Sunset at Leisure Island (Moturiki), Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

“Leisure Island” as it was known for a long time (and still is by some) got the name because it had a water park on it many years ago. Fortunately, it’s been left to return to natural bush. You can walk right out onto and around Moturiki. There’s a pretty sweet blowhole at the end that’s fun to watch when the surf picks up.

6. Mount Maunganui Nightscape

Mount Maunganui at night from Leisure Island with stars overhead

This was a photo that I took one night when I was hoping to get a shot of the Milky Way and stars over The Mount. Unfortunately, the sky didn’t come to the astrophotography party that night, but I was still pretty happy with what I walked away with.

7. Mount Maunganui Rocks

Canvas print of rocks under Mount Maunganui New Zealand

Another photo looking back on the mountain from the rocks on the north side, just off the base track. The sea was pounding the rocks pretty hard that day, but the long exposure gives the water and clouds a nice dreamy effect.

8. Crashing Waves

Waves crash over rocks under Mt Maunganui, New Zealand

The waves were big and heavy on this night also. I was playing around with different seascape shutter-speeds to get different effects, and this was one of my favourites. I had to pack up pretty soon after this shot because the tide was coming in and it was getting pretty sketchy!

9. Milky Way over Mount Maunganui

canvas art print of Mount Maunganui "The Mount" under Milky Way and stars

I managed to get back to this spot on Moturiki Island to shoot the Milky Way not long after the attempt mentioned above. This is a number of images stitched into a panorama, and one of my first Milky Way attempts.

10. Stairway To Heaven

Sunrise over walk summit track on Mount Maunganui New Zealand

The walk up the summit track to the top of Mauao is a must-do for anyone living near or visiting Mount Maunganui. I highly recommend getting up early and doing it for sunrise because the view will blow you away. Hiking up only takes 20-30 minutes, but you’ll get hot, so doing it early in the day is far more pleasant.

11. Moturiki Island

Moturiki Leisure Island Landscape, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand

This photo was another happy accident that I took while waiting to get the photo below. I was exploring the rocks on Moturiki Island while I waited for the light to improve when I turned around and composed this shot with the light behind me. Another reminder to turn around when shooting sunsets.

12. “The Mount”

Landscape photo of Mauao from Leisure Island "The Mount" Mt Maunganui Tauranga Bay Of Plenty New Zealand

This photo of Mount Maunganui is almost spiritual for me. Mauao is tapu (sacred) for Maori, and I understand why. It’s an incredible place, and it makes you stop and stare. I have this image printed large on my wall, and it never fails to make me stop what I’m doing and stare at it. Every photographer only gets to have a few images like that, and this is one of mine.

Your Turn

I hope you’ve enjoyed viewing Mount Maunganui through my camera lens. If you haven’t visited yet, be sure to add it to your travel bucket-list. If you have, I would love to see your photos. You can leave a link in the comments and I’ll be sure to take a look 🤙

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