Papamoa Beach

Surf Patrolled, Surfing & Fishing

Papamoa Beach is a suburb of Tauranga, located about 11 kilometres from the city centre. It is the largest residential suburb in Tauranga, having a population of 20,091 at the 2013 census.

The laid back settlement of Papamoa Beach has 16km of white sandy beach stretching from the boundary with Mount Maunganui in the west to the Kaituna River in the east. Widespread settlement of the area did not start until the early 1980s and prior to this Papamoa Beach had been largely a rural area. Once a small and tight knit community, many of Papamoa Beach’s sweeping paddocks have been swallowed up by urban development. Papamoa Beach is currently one of the fastest growing suburbs of Tauranga, with many different subdivisions developing concurrently on different blocks of land on the fringes of the suburb.

Papamoa Beach is renowned as a popular fishing, surfing, and holiday retreat. Your whole family can enjoy an ocean swim and the beach is patrolled by well-trained surf lifeguards during the summer months.

The population in Papamoa Beach (alongside neighbouring Mount Maunganui) grows significantly during the busy summer months.

The suburban area of “Papamoa” as it is commonly referred to today is actually situated at “Papamoa Beach.” Strictly geographically speaking, “Papamoa” is actually located closer inland towards the Papamoa Hills. Papamoa can be split into two areas: Papamoa East and Papamoa West.

Papamoa East (east of Parton Road) in the 1970s and 1980s used to be seen as more of an alternative place to live.

Surf Patrolled Beach

The most popular spot to swim is outside the Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club where lifeguards set up safe swimming areas (marked with flags) and patrol the beach during summer. You’ll find their clubroom – and plenty of car parking – at the grass reserve beside the Papamoa Beach Resort camp ground. The entrance is at the roundabout on the corner of Papamoa Beach Rd and Domain Rd.

This family-friendly beach is a safe swimming spot when waves are small. You can ride your boogie board for hours here. Challenge your kids to a sandcastle building competition or have a game of beach soccer or cricket. This beach is very wide so there’s plenty of room to spread out on the sand and run around.

Strong rips and large waves can occasionally form so be wary of the conditions, especially if you’re not swimming near the patrolled lifeguard area.


Papamoa Beach is a great place to surf when there’s a swell running. You’ll find both left and right hand breaks along this part of the coast. Waves can be surfed on any tide, although the best waves are usually found around mid-tide. This beach is offshore in a south to southwest wind.

Kite and wind surfing are also popular here. Choose a spot away from the crowds and enjoy the endless blue sky and ocean as you fly across the tops of the waves.


You can dig for pipis in the sand anywhere along this shoreline. Eat them straight from the shell, or toss them onto an open fire or barbecue until their shells open. Pipi fritters are also a delicious treat.

If you’re a keen fisherman you can also use pipi as bait to catch terakihi. This is a great beach for surf casting and there’s plenty of room to spread out down the coastline. Papamoa Beach has no boat launching facilities as such, but offshore fishing is very productive here.

Papamoa Beach is a much-loved holiday destination for generations of Kiwi families. Whatever your favourite beach activities are, you can enjoy them all here.

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Papamoa Hills, Shopping, Camping

The Papamoa Hills Regional Park is a hiker’s paradise. Explore the park’s cultural heritage and walk around former pa sites, or challenge yourself to reach the 224m-high summit and enjoy breath taking views.

If you climb right to the top you’ll be standing 224m above sea level. It’ll take you about 45 minutes to complete this steep walk from the carpark to the trig station but the views are definitely worth the effort. You’ll walk through pine forests, native bush and across open farmland along the way.

Seven pa sites (where Papamoa’s original Maori inhabitants lived) can be found in these hills, and the terracing they created around these pa sites can quite clearly be seen. The regional park was formed in 2003 to help protect the site’s cultural heritage (which may date back as far as 1650AD or even earlier) and there are over 2000 archaeological features found here. Early Maori settlers built many fortified pa’s on top of these hills, and treasured the prime position overlooking the plains and coastline below. Explore these archaeological sites and walk along the terraced pa site remains to reach the summit and admire the endless view.

The area’s wide, flat plains stretch inland before rising dramatically up into the Papamoa Hills. Today the Papamoa Hills Regional Park (Te Rae o Papamoa) provides plenty of opportunities for you to get outdoors and explore this fascinating area.



Indulge in some retail therapy at Papamoa Plaza or Fashion Island where you can snap up some excellent bargains on women’s fashion, in particular.

A new shopping centre is opening in Papamoa East in mid 2018

Papamoa Plaza

This indoor mall is just 400m away from Papamoa Beach . It has a wide range of retailers including large national chains and specialty local stores, food outlets, a gym and a Woolworths Supermarket. Plenty of free car parking is available on site.

Fashion Island

Fashion Island is adjacent to Papamoa Plaza so no need to adjust your car parking. This is the place to go for a shopping bargain. Discount stores for major fashion retail chains can be found here, with heavy discounts on the latest styles. Shop for a special occasion outfit or something more casual to wear on holiday. The library, food outlets, banks, medical facilities, a gym and other interesting shops are all situated in Fashion Island for your shopping pleasure.

A PakNSave Supermarket and a Mitre 10 store are situated in this area and they both have their own visitor car parks.


Camping & Holiday Parks

Soak up the sun and laid-back atmosphere of the campgrounds and holiday parks and RV camp grounds. Perfect for families and large groups, you’ll be surprised by how impressive the facilities are and the locations are sure to please.

Enjoy beachfront camping in one of New Zealand’s most beautiful holiday destinations. Pitch a tent or park up your motorhome or caravan on one of the 250 available camping sites set on 16-acres of beachfront landscape.


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Dining, Transport & Schools


Dine at a range of cafes, restaurants and fast food outlets. Or sample some of the best street food you will find anywhere in the Bay at ‘Dinner in the Domain’ – a weekly artisan food market held in the Papamoa Domain every Thursday night between November and March.


Public transport is available every half hour or hour by bus, connecting Papamoa Beach with Mount Maunganui and Tauranga’s CBD.


Papamoa is one of the fastest-growing areas in New Zealand as more people move closer to this desirable beach. The area’s facilities and tourist attractions are continuing to grow and evolve as a result.

This is a dream holiday spot where everyone can have fun and relax, so come and experience the magic of Papamoa for yourself.

Papamoa Beach has become one of our region’s iconic destinations.

Thousands of people come here every summer to enjoy this beach’s stunning white sand and rolling surf.

There are numerous beach access points marked at regular intervals along Papamoa Beach Rd, which is densely populated with residential and holiday homes. You can park on the side of the road here and wander down to the beach via any of these public walkways.


Papamoa Beach schools.

  • Golden Sands School is a state contributing primary (Year 1–6) school, and has 539 students as of February 2018. The school opened in February 2011.
  • Papamoa College is a state Year 7–13 secondary school, and has 1304 students as of February 2018. The school opened in February 2011.
  • Papamoa School is a state contributing primary (Year 1–6) school, and has 578 students as of February 2018.
  • Tahatai Coast School is a state full primary (Year 1–8) school, and has 666 students as of February 2018. The school opened in 1996.
  • Te Akau ki Papamoa Primary School is a state contributing primary (Year 1–6) school, and has 607 students as of February 2018. The school opened in 2000 as a full primary (Year 1–8) school; Years 7 and 8 were removed when Papamoa College opened in 2011.
  • Susan Aubert Catholic School  Years 1 – 6 Catholic Primary School that opened in Papamoa in February 2021.