Day 9: Taupō – Tauranga, Cloudy, 26ºC max, 16ºC min.
Day 9 was such a long day, it was better for us to split it into 2 separate posts. So this post is a continuation of the previous post on Wai-O-Tapu, the Thermal Wonderland.
We spent 3 hours in Wai-O-Tapu. Our initial plan was to also visit one of the Māori villages in the vicinity, but due to time constraint, we decided to drive straight to Tauranga, because it is a beautiful town to spend some quality time there.
We drove 100 km and arrived at Oceanside Resort & Twin Towers, situated at the foot of the iconic Mt. Maunganui in Tauranga 1.5 hrs later.
A dormant volcano, the 232 m (761 ft) tall Mt. Maunganui rises above the town in the Bay of Plenty, and sits on a peninsula to the north of Tauranga. The exquisite location of our accommodation allowed us to make the most of everything Mt. Maunganui has to offer.
Ideally located just adjacent to one of NZ’s most popular surf beaches, JMIDM decided to plunge into the sea and enjoy the Main Beach.
For us, we decided to ascend the plethora of walking tracks up and around the dormant volcano.
Officially known by its Māori name, Mauao, Mt. Maunganui is also colloquially known in New Zealand simply as The Mount.
Having walked for 3 hrs at Wai-O-Tapu, it seemed fatigue didn’t manage to inhibit us from climbing up The Mount. Offering several different tracks to hike up, with the map in one hand, we walked up together with Mum and Dad, and a baby in tow.
Just metres up the hiking track, we could already see a breathtaking view of the coastal resort town.
We continued on at our own pace, and had fun swinging Little E along…
On the way up to the summit, we admired paragliders that sailed over and above us up close.
I love the above picture of Mum and Dad sitting by the rock cliff with one of the paraglider in view.
We reached the summit in about 1.5 hr’s time…
… and took a very lovely family photo at the summit point.
Then we made our way down a different route. The descent was also as scenic as the ascent.
With wild sheep as companions, we were not complaining! They were literally everywhere munching on the sweet-tasting grass that carpeted the base of Mt. Maunganui.
Those sheep kept Little E excited for quite a long while, until she finally dozed off on my shoulders by the time we reached the foot of The Mount.
We went back to our own suites, showered and ventured off to have dinner by ourselves. J and I, with Little E still asleep in her pram, explored the town centre.
We finally settled on butter chicken, some Japanese skewers and kebabs for our dinner.
While we were out and about, JMIDM together with Mum and Dad went to the town centre after they finished dipping into the resort’s heated spa pools. They enjoyed a sumptuous Japanese dinner at the same restaurant where we bought the skewers from.
“I will bless the Lord who guides me; even at night my heart instructs me. I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for He is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice. My body rests in safety. You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.” (Psalm 16:7-11 NLT)