15 Fun Things To Do in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga With Your Preschooler ♡
Mount Maunganui is a fantastic place to raise young children – relaxed, spacious, and rich in natural beauty.
At Olive Tree Education and Care we have noticed an influx of young families moving to Mount Maunganui and Tauranga from Auckland, or further afield.
Consider this blog post our welcome gift to you!
This handy list is an ‘insiders guide’ – by parents for parents – full of local knowledge about fun things to do in Mount Maunganui and Tauranga with your little ones.
Our teaching philosophy is based on the belief that children develop a positive connection with learning when they are free to follow their fascinations.
Each time you explore this fantastic region with your preschooler, notice what he or she is naturally drawn to and find ways to build on those connections.
Philip Brickell | Head Teacher
1. Explore the Rock Pools at Mount Beach
The rock-pools at the base of ‘The Mount’ are such fun to explore with preschoolers. Roll your jeans up, get some fresh air and teach your child to be fascinated by science – the natural way!
Your preschooler will love discovering the crabs, limpets and little fish in the rock-pools and you’ll find yourself retrieving knowledge long buried from 6th form biology field trips!
2. Burn Off Energy at Tumble Time
If you are looking for a way to help your preschooler burn off some energy then ‘Tumble Time’ is for you! Active kids will love the trampolines, gymnastic equipment, mega blocks and bikes – and that is only half of what is on offer. This is a fantastic and affordable way to have fun with your preschooler – and they will talk about it for the rest of the afternoon!
Tumble Time is available at three venus: ASB Arena in Mount Maunganui, Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre in Tauranga and the Papamoa Community Centre.
3. Have a $1 Copenhagen Cone
Copenhagen Cones is an iconic Mount Maunganui destination for families. They have a baby size ice-cream for just $1 – great value for a pre-schooler date. Walk around the mount and get an ice-cream at the end for a treat. Hard to beat!
You’ll find Copenhagen Cones across the road from the Mount Maunganui Hot Pools, another great iconic destination for families at the base of mighty Mauao.
4. Climb Mauao!
Mauao, our very own mini mountain, is a very special place for everyone in our fair city by the sea. A walk around the base track is a beautiful way to absorb the beauty of nature and is stroller friendly. However, if you really want to experience the full magic of ‘The Mount’ you have to climb it! It’s a decent challenge, so you might want to head around the base track a few times first before hitting the stairs with a baby in the front-pack or back-pack.
5. Enjoy a Sweet Treat at Spongedrop Bakery
Spongedrop Bakery is a deliciously gorgeous little cake shop which boasts probably the biggest back-yard of any cafe in town.
Winning hearts and tastebuds from their early days at the Little Big Markets, dedicated followers of Spongedrop Bakery have now followed them to the iconic building that used to be the Mount Maunganui Information Centre, near Pilot Bay and right on the edge of a park.
Their outside tables are the perfect spot to hang out and enjoy a sweet treat with your little one.
6. Have Fun at Memorial Park Playground
Tauranga Memorial Park is Tauranga’s largest park and offers 11 hectares of fun right next to the harbour. The playgrounds are very popular with kids and the large grassy areas give plenty of space for them to run and play. Take a picnic and settle in for a few hours so you have time to enjoy the miniature railway, water fountain and a visit to see Humpty Dumpty. The Memorial Pools are great in summer – one of Tauranga’s best kept secrets. Don’t tell anyone…
7. Hit The Boardwalks
They say you don’t really know a city until you explore it by foot – or by bicycle we might add! Tauranga boasts many boardwalks which show off our coastal beauty. Take your little one with you on your bike or in a stroller. Check out the Waikaraeo Estuary Walkways which is a 9km loop along the margin of estuary. It is suitable for both walking and cycling and you can either tackle the whole loop (around two hours) or a section of it.
8. Visit Pacifica Cafe in Papamoa
In 2014, Pacifica Home, Garden Store & Cafe was taken over by four sisters who had fond memories of going to Pacifica for special treats when they were young girls. Combining their creative talents they have created a beautiful place where you can enjoy a date with your preschooler.
Kids can order food from the kids menu and eat it outside at picnic tables or on the grass in the sunshine. While you browse the beautiful homewares or garden centre, your little one can enjoy playing on the lovely shaded playground and get acquainted with the much-loved four chickens: Fab-a-chick-boom, Kentucky, Gingernut and Mildred!
9. Have A Picnic At Te Puna Quarry Park
Te Puna Quarry Park is a wonderful culmination of vision, inspiration and community spirit. This beautiful treasure was transformed from an unused quarry into a environmental wonderland by a committed band of volunteers. Take a picnic and explore the flowers, the walkways, the butterfly garden and the sculptures with your little one. There is so much to see!
10. Enjoy a ‘Fluffy’ Date at Nourish Cafe
Nourish Café is a popular café ten minutes out of town, in rural Te Puna. Parents rave about Nourish as the perfect spot for child-friendly coffee dates and lunches. The outdoor play area is a real draw-card. A beautiful kid’s playhouse, soft grass, a fort with slide and real-life bunnies will keep your children entertained while you relax with a coffee.
CLICK HERE to discover ‘Five Child Friendly Cafes in Tauranga.
11. Hang out With Hairy McClary & His Gang
“Out of the gate and off for a walk went Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy”.
Nine beloved characters from Tauranga author Lynley Dodd’s world famous ‘Hairy Maclary’ books are frolicking on the strand in the form of an interactive bronze sculpture. The larger than life statues have quickly become an attraction for children and adults alike. Located next to the Tauranga Strand Waterfront Playground, it’s a great place to visit for family fun and happy photos.
If your child counts only eight characters, you can point out Zachary Quack to them. He is the little duck standing on Hercules Morse and quacking in his ear!
12. Play at The Strand Waterfront Playground
The Strand Waterfront Playground in down-town Tauranga offers a safe, fun, relaxed place for you and your preschooler to enjoy some quality time. The flying saucer swings are a big hit with the little ones and the Boxed Coffee outlet is a big hit with the parents!
13. Go On Bush Walks at McLarens Falls Park
No matter what the season, McLarens Falls Park never fails to delight. A 10 minute drive out of Tauranga towards the Kaimai ranges, this very special place is a great place for little feet to wander through. The park boasts over 190 hectares of parkland build around the picturesque Lake McLaren so there is plenty to explore!
Grab a take-away coffee from ‘The Falls’ Cafe within the park-grounds and take your preschooler to feed the ducks and explore the bush walks.
14. Enjoy Our Beautiful Beaches
It goes without saying that the endless stretches of glorious Mount Maunganui and Papamoa beaches are the jewel in the crown of this region. Take your family to the beach – swim, board, float, build sandcastles and soak up the sun and the summertime vibes. Gelato in hand, toes in the sand – you and your little one will find your happy place at the beach this summer!
15. Visit Marshall’s Animal Farm
Marshall’s Animal Farm is a favourite with parents and preschoolers alike. Situated next to McLarens Falls Park, this park is well designed to help your kids get up and close and personal with a delightfully entertaining range of domestic and exotic animals. Sheep, chickens, rabbits, goats, clydesdale horses, deer, turtles and alpacas are just some of the animals you’ll encounter. In addition, you’ll find picnic tables, a flying fox, coffee and a view to enjoy it with. Definitely worth a trip.
VISIT OLIVE TREE EDUCATION AND CARE
At Olive Tree, Education and Care in Bayfair Mount Maunganui, you’ll find happy children in a nurturing environment, enjoying genuine relationships with caring teachers who facilitate creative play and quality learning experiences.
Our centre is led by a male head-teacher who facilitates a fun learning programme where boys can be boys and girls can do anything! Parents love the spacious and caring babies and toddlers unit. We care for children aged 6 months – 5 years.