Mount Maunganui, also know as “The Mount” to locals, is a popular beach town in the Bay of Plenty – just 2.5 hours’ drive from Auckland and located on the stunning East Coast of the North Island.

If you’re driving in from Auckland, you’ll want to make sure you stop at Blueberry Country in Ngatea for fresh real fruit ice-cream and blueberry picking, as well as Paeroa, home to the famous Kiwi fizzy drink L&P (Lemon and Paeroa). Blueberry Country, 229 Central Rd S, Ngatea 3576.

Shopping and local craft

When you arrive at the Mount, you’ll find lots of great shops, cafés, fresh produce and beautiful coastline. There are lots of local makers and creatives in Mount Maunganui who sell their goods at stores around town. You’ll find really cool homewares shops, gift stores and clothing stores stocking local and international brands. Make sure to stop at Neon Gypsy boutique for beautiful boho clothing, and for homewares check out Paper Plane store and Été at the Mount for gifts, books, leather goods and gorgeous home décor. Été at the Mount, 98 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui; Paper Plane, 99 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui; Neon Gypsy, 176 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui.

Café culture

Mount Maunganui has a thriving café culture and one of my favourites is Café 88, who are known for their sweet treats, great coffee and arty decor. If you’re stopping by, the carrot cake is a must-try, as well as their date and banana smoothie. Other favourites are Luca, a hole in the wall, no frills coffee stop and The Batch for a fresh and seasonal menu with beach-inspired interiors. Café 88, 88 Maunganui Rd, Mt Maunganui; Luca Coffee, 90 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui; The Batch, 108 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui.