Soak Up The Bay’s Beachside Glory

Mount Maunganui’s Main Beach is an absolute showstopper and there’s now a brand new way to enjoy the incredible view, sunshine and fresh sea air.

The Marine Parade coastal path runs 3km parallel to the beach, offering views over the dunes, white sand and barreling ocean waves of Mount Maunganui.

Coastal path skateboarder

This is a great alternative to walking on the beach itself and the space available isn’t dependent on the tides. At 4m wide, there’s plenty of room for everyone whether you’re on foot, cycling, e-scootering, skateboarding, pushing a stroller or sitting in a wheelchair or mobility scooter.

The path alternates between smooth concrete and attractive timber boards. It meanders around curves and has slight rises and falls. But for the most part it’s flat and easy to navigate no matter your age or fitness level.

Since opening in December 2023, this pathway has become synonymous with life in the Bay – fun, active, relaxing and peaceful. Being up that little bit higher than the beach offers the perfect view, and on a clear day you can see right along the coastline from Mauao to Maketū.

You can join this pathway at any point but technically it starts opposite Hopukiore (Mount Drury) Reserve and runs along Marine Parade to the roundabout where Oceanbeach Road begins. It’s an extension of the Main Beach boardwalk which was built in 1999 so you can grab your coffee or an ice-cream from the cafes opposite Mauao and walk southeast (heading towards Pāpāmoa), or do it in reverse and save a treat till the end.

Marine Parade Coastal Path web

Along the way there are numerous wooden bench seats facing out across the Pacific Ocean where you can sit and gaze at the epic view. Bike stands, picnic tables and public barbeque facilities are also dotted along the pathway, as well as ample rubbish and recycling bins. Toilets can be found at Mount Drury and Tay Street.

Many people simply throw down a rug in the shade beneath a towering Norfolk Pine or Pōhutukawa tree and enjoy a picnic. Or follow one of the beach access trails down to the water for a swim – you’ll find one every 100-200m or so.

If you are in a wheelchair or mobility scooter, there’s a bright blue accessibility mat that leads from the boardwalk down to the beach opposite Mount Drury so everyone can easily get onto the beach if they wish.

Little ones are also well catered for, with a new playground constructed beside the pathway opposite Te Ngaio Reserve. This play space is deigned for children under 10 and is the perfect height for them to swing, climb and crawl their way through various obstacles while parents chill out at the picnic table nearby. Just across the road in the reserve you’ll find swings and equipment for slightly older kids to enjoy too.

Bay Photos 191222 21 v2

Extensive planting has been undertaken along this entire coastal route which will only grow more impressive in the years to come. It blends in beautifully with the sand dunes and this restoration and revegetation work is continuing to reintroduce more native species to the area.

In addition to the sweeping sea views, the Marine Parade coastal path will also give you the chance to admire some of our region’s most expensive real estate. While these impressive homes are right on the main road, you often can’t see them if you’re walking on the beach itself.

General etiquette in New Zealand is to keep to the left when walking or biking along shared pathways. If you’re on a bike, it’s polite to sound your bell (if you have one) when approaching people from behind so they don’t get a fright when you sail past.

But there’s plenty of room for all on this beachside trail, so grab a hat and some sunscreen and enjoy one of New Zealand’s best beach environments in all its glory.