Hello from Tauranga, NZ's fifth largest city (pop. 125,000) and one with a vibrant personality. Maori first discovered this area in the 13th Century and named it “Tauranga” meaning ‘the place of rest or anchorage. Tauranga's most significant feature, aside from its string of stunning beaches, is Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano, called Mauao by Maori.
The summit is 761 feet but the walk is pretty much straight up. And you've already guessed what we're doing today. Look at the photo in the picture below to see how unusually Mauao is located, out at the end of a strip of land that houses Mount Maunganui the town.
The views appear almost as soon as we start walking up.
As usual, the sheep have the best vantage point. And it's lambing season, one of the joys of NZ in spring. Be forewarned: I'm not holding back on the lambs in this post.
Here's a way to see our location--amazingly, just 2.5 hours from Auckland and heading next for the Coromandel Peninsula, though likely driving up the eastern edge first (if reading in email click here to view map).
Across this bay is Tauranga.
There are roving sheep and lambkins everywhere, one little guy right in the middle of the track.
When does your visa expire, missy?
Back to the trail. There are half a dozen ways to walk up and down (and around) Mauao.
I was so enchanted by the lambs I didn't show you the trail.
(You're the) top
Smiling through my aching legs.
We're passing them again on the way down...
Can't help myself.
There are mid-rise hotels over there on the Pacific side. We stocked up on food for the next couple weeks at an organic store and the larger New World grocery. The Coromandel Peninsula teems with Aucklanders and tourists in the summer, but late winter/spring will be sleepier and we're not sure what services will be available.
Speaking of available, grilling charcoal isn't always. Art found this lightweight, shard-like type today. I think he's longing for his Kingsford...