Before arriving in New Zealand we were a bit worried about flying by the seat of our pants and not booking camp sites ahead of time. It’s summer holidays here at the moment, but so far, we’ve been lucky in finding availability at the campgrounds of our choosing. Actually this weekend is the last long weekend before school starts again, so things should get nice and quiet now. Maybe.
A couple of times we had pulled up to a campground and were holding our breath waiting to hear if there was space for us, or not. This weekend was no exception, when we pulled into Mount Maunganui. Even though we had called ahead two days before to book ourselves a spot, it turned out we had been mistakenly double booked by a new employee. However they found us a nice shady spot at the base of the mountain. Phew.
There are a number of ways we judge a new town, and examples include the obvious: location, or general amenities, but the best predictor to a great place is just overall vibe. We like the small town feel with cute cafe’s, shops to poke in, friendly atmosphere, good walkability, and preferably right on the beach. The Mount was a tough call this weekend because it was so busy; a high school volleyball tourney, vacationers from the city, and two giant cruise ships all crammed into town, so perhaps we missed the true feel of the place.
Nonetheless, we did enjoy our time here, as the main strip of shops had some nice flare, the beach was long, picturesque and sandy as far as the eye could see, and the mountain was perfect for a little tramp (AKA hike) with our family. In the morning we headed out for a nice walk around the mountain, but instead we found ourselves enroute to the summit, and the further we went we decided we had to continue- all the way to the top. We were actually glad we did as the view was spectacular. The only drawback was the crowds!
Rylie did pretty amazing, and nearly climbed the entire thing herself, finishing up the last 1/4 on dad’s shoulder. The summit height is about 250M high and took us about 1.5 hours up the more gradual incline with few stairs, then 30 minutes down (on dad’s shoulders due to a wee blister) on a steeper stair route. Zo was a champ sleeper in the hiking pack on the way down.
Once we refuelled and rested our feet we headed to the nearby outdoor thermal pool which both girls loved and it was a relaxing way to finish the afternoon. Later on we took a jaunt down to see the cruise ships docked in the nearby harbour to show Ry the scale, and to spark her interest for our April pacific crossing.