You can call at Mt Maunganui while on a sea cruise. Here we see the ship "Legend of the Seas", on which vt member "seagoingjlw" and her husband arrived.
The great thing about the port here is that it is walking distance from the main shopping area. You won't find a mall or large department stores, but it's pleasant all the same. You are also walking distance from the actual Mount, if you fancy walking up the top of that. You need a medium level of fitness, as it is a climb and not just a few steps from the ship. Most of the way the path is easy to walk on, and there is no clambering to get to the summit. The view from up there is really nice, well worth the effort on a nice day.
Sarah and I ventured out on our trip to enjoy the Mount Maunganui by renting a vehicle from Europcar in Auckland's CBD. It ended up saving us quite a bit of money not to rent from the airport location, because it was 10-15 NZD per day less than what we had quoted over the internet.
We drove from Auckland to the Coromandel Pennisula, then down to Mt. Maunganui, using less than a tank of petrol. It was truly a beautiful drive.
We ended up paying 135 NZD for 4 days rental, including unlimited mileage. Our vehicle was a Peugeot, and it ran nicely... with plenty of room for the two of us.
If you would like to rent from the location in Auckland that we used for your trip, go to the website and use:
Location Code: AKLC01
This is the Ferry which sails each 45 minutes across the Tauranga Harbour and return from Mount Maunganui
We caught the ferry which sails across the Harbour into Mount Maunganui.
It costs $6 per adult and takes 30 minutes to sail from Tauranga into Mount Maunganui Jetty