12 Hours Tauranga

Colourful paintings on a white wall at Sumer Art Gallery.

When you only have 12 hours somewhere you want to hit the best places first, right? Here’s our guide to the coolest spots in Tauranga.

On the coast and the fifth most populated city in New Zealand, there is so much to love about Tauranga. Just three hours south of Auckland, Tauranga is a lifestyle and tourism hot spot and the options for you to explore here are endless. From coffee shops, art galleries, and epic local businesses to beaches, waterfalls and mountains, you are sure to be busy during your visit. To make it easy for you, we've created a list of things to do in Tauranga if you only have 12 hours.


Mount Manganui on a sunny day next to the blue ocean.

Sunrise: Begin your day with a walk up Mauao (Mount Manganui)

We’ve all seen the shots on Instagram and TikTok but experiencing it for yourself is so much better… we are of course talking about the iconic views from the top of Mount Manganui. There is no better way to start 12 hours in Tauranga than making your way to the Mount and hiking the stunning Mauao. Seeing the sunrise from the summit is so good for the soul and the coastal views are breathtaking.

Photo by: Getty Images

Morning buns and croissants on display behind a window.

8.30am: Breakfast pastries at Breadhead

2a Saint John Street, Tauranga

After working up an appetite on your Mauao walk, you have earned a breakfast pastry or two from Breadhead. This bakery has earned an A+ reputation around town, so it's key to get there early to make sure you don’t miss out on their selection of almond bear claws, morning buns, danishes and pain au chocolat. Whilst you’re there why not pick up a loaf of one of the incredible breads, future you will thank you for it! After you’ve gathered your carby goods, we recommend heading to the beach for breakfast with a view.

Photo by: Anna Briggs 

A flat white on a wooden table in the sunlight.

9:00am: Coffee at Folk Brewers

148 Durham Street, Tauranga

The next stop is a crucial one for the success of the day ahead and that is, of course, to get your daily dose of caffeine and Folk Brewers are the kings and queens of coffee in Tauranga. You can either take a seat and enjoy your cup with the regulars or remember your keep cup, get your order to go and head to the beach for the ultimate coffee + pastry + view combo.

The exterior of the Tauranga Art Gallery at dusk.

10:00am: Soak up the best of the Tauranga arts scene

108 Willow Street, Tauranga

Now that you are fed and caffeinated, visit  the city’s best art establishment. Tauranga Art Gallery with its focus on work with local content by local artists, it’s a great way to get to know the city a little better. The exhibits range from illustrations to photography, with themes that will make you think. You can even take a t-shirt, jewellery, or some homewares home with you to remember your visit.


Bagels and sandwiches on display behind a glass cabinet.

12pm: Lunch at Love Rosie

50 Ninth Avenue, Tauranga

All of a sudden it’s lunchtime and while there are plenty of tempting options around the city centre, time and time again Love Rosie comes out the winner. As soon as you walk in the door their food cabinet will have you salivating and choosing which delicious items to order might just be the hardest decision you have to make all day. Enjoy your lunch in the light, bright and friendly atmosphere Love Rosie is renowned for and make sure you’re fueled up for an afternoon of retail therapy around Mount Maunganui.

2pm: Get your shop on around Mount Maunganui

The Mount is an easy 10-15 minute drive away and is well known for its impressive boutiques. Begin your afternoon of pottering around the shops at Paper Plane, a carefully curated store filled with quality homewares, fashion and lifestyle goods, there’s bound to be at least one or two treasures making their way home with you. For the fashion lovers among you BLAKCHAOS is the dream collaboration store between local clothing label BLAK and Chaos and Harmony shoes. Bringing together the best of both brands, there’s also a selection of other labels that complement them. 

Being so close to the beach and the water, this next store is oh-so-perfect to visit. Salt Bags is a purpose-driven brand, seeking to honour the ocean and produce products that are not only helpful to your every day but are good and give back to nature. Speaking of products that are good for us, take some time to explore be ORGANICS, this organic wholefoods store may be small but it packs a powerful punch of goodness. 

A close up of a hand holding a glass of beer.

4pm: Beer tasting at The Island Brewery

103 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui

Head along the coastline to Papamoa and find yourself at The Island, the perfect venue to spend the late afternoon relaxing, tasting some beers and listening to some tunes. Talented upcoming musicians get a chance to wow you with their performances and you get to sip beer, chat with friends, and enjoy the sunshine in a relaxed beachy setting. Have a stroll on the beach before heading back to the Mount for an early dinner.


A flatly of burgers and beers on a table at night.

5.30pm: Dinner at The Rising Tide

107 Newton Street, Mount Maunganui

Keep the mini brew tour alive with dinner and drinks at The Rising Tide, with a reputation for epic craft beer (there are 40 in total!) and top-class outdoor dining. 

The Rising Tide is home to Mount Brewing Co. Brewery and Johney's Dumpling House. With a 17-tap bar on the deck in the summertime, you are sure to find a beer that tickles your taste buds. But no matter what time of year you come, they have you covered with windbreaks and outdoor heaters for those cooler times. The food menu here is all about the dumplings, burgers and tacos, and you really can’t go wrong with whatever you pick. There's also live music in the evenings. 

Photo by: Supplied

Hands holding two ice cream cones.

7pm: Enjoy a sweet end to your day at Sea People

143 Maunganui Road, Mount Maunganui

It’s an ice cream scoop shop with a difference! Sea People is on a mission to create delicious ice creams that everyone can enjoy no matter their dietary needs or restrictions. They make everything from scratch including their plant-based cashew and coconut milk blend base and are always creating new flavours. What could be better to finish your day of exploration around Tauranga, Mount Maunganui and Papamoa than with a scoop or two of Sea People’s finest.