There is an excellent collection of breaks right around the Mount Maunganui region. To the north lies Matakana Island that regularly boasts excellent beach breaks. Access via ferry from Tauranga’s Sulphur Point.
Paddling across the bar is now illegal – be warned! Main Beach and Shark Alley further to the south all offer great waves in summertime NE swells. Rabbit Island just offshore from Shark Alley has a nice reef/bombie setup on both the east and west coasts that offers true big wave action to he right, and a fattish longboard venue to the left.
The goodwill runs all the way down to Arataki that can hold some real size. Solid thumpings and hold-downs come free of charge in such conditions.