I've met some cool people at the backpackers and got a chance to go to Mount Maunganui with one of them, Joe from the UK. Without a car, you'd have to take the number 1 bus from outside the Information office to get to the Mount, about a 10 minute drive away from Tauranga.
Ditto, different angle
Below, a video as we are making our way up the Mount. In the distance, to the left of the short, you can make out Pleasure Island where I took the pictures above.
Views on the way up the Mount
A Sun flower behind strange-looking bulbous plants
Below, a 360 degree view from the top of the Mount
On this side of the mountain, you can see steppes carved out of the side. This was an ancient Maori pa site and the steppes were used as a form of protection from enemies. They would scatter crushed seashells on the ground. This would alert them at night, because of the noise and would also injure the enemies feet, making them less agile in battle.
As we came back down to the shore, there was a carpet of the following:
A shore mixing rocks and sand. The best of both worlds.