It was raining lightly when we picked up the rental car and headed to Tauranga. While planing this trip we didn’t realize that today is a major holiday in New Zealand – Waitangi Day. This meant the roads were busy with people heading home at the end of the long weekend. Fortunately, they were mostly going the opposite directions so our traffic was light.
We were drawn to this area for two things. The first is Mount Maunganui which is an extinct volcano and a Mauao Historic Reserve. It’s known for hiking trails of various difficulties and stunning views (if you take the more challenging trails to the top). The other attraction is the beaches.
When we arrived the top of Mount Maunganui was wreathed in clouds. Of course it was. But by the time we checked in and had lunch it was sunny, so we decided to take a look.
One of the easy paths goes around the base of the mountain and we decided that was our speed today. Lots of amazing trees, as always…
Most of the shore is rocky and the path is set back, but in one area we could walk along a sandy beach. I came across this scene with a small stream.
And then we spotted a Cormorant…
We only went part way around Mount Maunganui (tomorrow, all the way…) and then checked out the main beach (we will be back tomorrow). On our walk back to the hotel we saw something that we haven’t seen since we arrived in New Zealand.
… a flat and level path through a park. I’m joking of course, but not by much. Tomorrow we will make up for the easy walk today.