Greetings from Mount Maunganui!  I’ve been here at this beach town for a couple of grey and very blustery days and count myself fortunate since the weather forecast has unwaveringly called for full on rain during the whole of my seaside visit.  So far, there have only been a few sprinkles and lots of wind with temperatures mostly in the upper 50s.  I do wonder if I will ever get to wear the swimsuit I brought along or the sleeveless tops and shorts for that matter.  I am very glad I decided to take the pajamas provided on the airplane ride over because they are long sleeved, warm, and comfy. Yes, I was offered pajamas on the plane, definitely a first for me, and while I did not wear them on the plane, I’ve worn them at some point almost every day since my arrival.  

Fun Fact:  November 2022 was the rainiest November on record for New Zealand.  AND, it was 5 times as rainy as the next rainiest November on record.  Locals and Tourists alike are wondering if December is going for the coldest December on record.  Ha!  We shall see.  Remember, by now, New Zealand should be well on its way to full on Summer!

Alright, moving on.  My little AirBnB here in Mount Maunganui is in a sweet spot for sure.  It’s precisely one half block from the beach and two and a half blocks from the main street with all the cafes, stores, etc.  Please note the black arrow in the banner photo as it points to my AirBnB as best I can tell.  You can zoom in on the photo to better see and I must say I’m rather impressed with the capabilities of the iphone 13 camera. I was a ways down the beach and atop Mount Maunganui when I took the shot.

Before we further dive in, let me say I misspoke when I earlier included Mount Maunganui in with the Coromandel Peninsula.  A good samaritan alerted me to the fact it is not part of the Coromandel, but rather belongs to a region known as, The Bay of Plenty, dubbed such by, you guessed it, Lieutenant James Cook, commander of The Endeavour, who sailed into the bay in 1769. I guess he was a Lieutenant at the time, not yet making the rank of Captain.  He named it ‘Bay of Plenty’, because the people were generous and there were lots of fish, timber and other supplies.  Te Moana a Toi-te-Huatahi is the recognised Māori name for the region which translates to “The Ocean of Toi of the First Fruits”.

Mount Maunganui is not only a small mountain, but also a narrow spit of land with the South Pacific on one side and the largest port in New Zealand on the other.  Port Tauranga, which in Māori means, anchorage or resting place.  It was quite industrial on the drive in and you can see in the banner photo, it is densely populated, but once here, I’ve only had eyes for the little area between the few blocks I mentioned earlier and the Mount, so It’s been nice to fairly evenly spread my time between walking, reading, and eating and then walking, reading, and eating some more.

I’ll let the photos tell the rest of the story, such as it is.  It’s really just things I saw while walking.

Lots of surfing, surf lessons, kite surfing, and paddle board surfing along with the recurring cargo ship sailing by in the distance.  All folks in the water appear to be in what looks like fairly thick wetsuits.  

This was a new one for me.  Have any of you guys ever seen a UV Meter?  You can see on this day, it was a 7 even though it was deceptively cloudy and somewhat cool.

At the far end of the beach and at the base of The Mount, we find the LifeGuard Service Station/Office/Department?  I took the photo because the outdoor showers are shaped like surfboards, which I thought was fun.  Oh and a little side note about NZ.  In my experience thus far, NZ has more public toilets than anywhere else I’ve ever been.  They are (conveniently) everywhere!

Taken from a spot in the early stages of the climb to the top.  These are the Pohutukawa trees I’m so fond of otherwise known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree, coming into bloom right on time.

From up toward the top looking down onto the other side of the spit, you can see some of Port Tauranga. 

And that’s it from Mount Maunganui other than these.

I saw many houses and other structures under construction AND under various degrees of SHRINK WRAP!  Never have I seen the like, have you?

Do you think the owner of this Vietnamese Restaurant called, Rice Rice Baby was a fan of Vanilla Ice back in the mid 80s when he was busy plagiarizing Queen and David Bowie?  You know the beat.  And if you haven’t lately seen the video of David Bowie and Annie Lennox singing the song, treat yourself and google it up.

Have to mention how much I love how we just went from a modern day Vietnamese Restaurant in New Zealand to the one hit, 80’s, beat stealing, wonder, Vanilla Ice, to a David Bowie music video in 2 seconds flat!  And now I had better quickly move on because I feel more rapid fire tangential thoughts coming my way and who knows where we’d end up though I suspect it would have something to do with faces being strange and then on to the land of George Michael and who knows beyond that, but most probably something about Annapolis, Maryland and Roger Ramsay, which would then take us full circle back to Hawaii in the mid 80s, Vanilla Ice, Mustang five point Ohs with the rag top down so the hair can blow.  Ok, I’ll stop and get back to the regularly scheduled programming.

Rice Rice Baby had really good reviews, so i ordered take out one night.  It was yummy (no V-3, Rusty) and it was packed every time I walked by with lots of additional people coming and going for take away, in spite of the name, I imagine. Ha!

The roadside attractions on the way to Mount Maunganui from a really lovely overnight stop in Tairua (photo on Facebook), were the recommended stop at Karangahake Gorge and then a nearby Owharoa Falls.  Both pleasant stops with lots of gold mining history at the Gorge.  If you care to read more about the mining, you can click here or cut and paste if necessary.

https://www.engineeringnz.org/programmes/heritage/heritage-records/karangahake-gold-mining/

Tomorrow finds me headed only about an hour away to the town of Rotorua, known for bubbling mud pools, shooting geysers and natural hot springs, as well as being the showcase of Traditional Māori culture. Really looking forward especially since I am staying in Whakarewarewa, a Living Māori Village.  I’ll let you know how to say it once I learn myself.  

Until next time…

 

A note about commenting, should you be so inclined, which I hope you will because I love hearing from folks following along!

If you type your name (first name only is fine) in the Name Box, your comments won’t show up as Anonymous and I’ll know it’s you.  Also, should you choose, you can fill in your email address in the provided box next to the Name box.  If you do this, you will get an email telling you I have replied to your comment and what I said.

 

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Comments:

  • Heather Smith

    December 8, 2022

    Random question…..did you have all of your reservations made ahead of time? I know you said that you were told it was a good idea this time of year but wasn’t sure if you had planned everything out or left some flexibility. Love the photos of the day to day things!

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    • Margie

      December 8, 2022

      Hello Heather! Based on the recurring advice to book ahead, I did, especially for the south island which is where I’ll be during the big NZ summer holidays and many things book up months in advance. Having said this though, there is always flexibility and thank goodness, because I’ve modified my plans a few times already. Glad you like the day to day photos!

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  • Tena

    December 8, 2022

    Tena – Love that you have or will see Rotorua. I feel like I know the place from reading Molten Mud Murders by Sara Johnson. Sorry you couldn’t find that book in NZ, but I’m about to start her second, The Bones Remember, which you read on your way over. Your pictures are great. The quality of the photos are the sole reason I have briefly considered an iPhone over my Android.

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    • Margie

      December 9, 2022

      Rotorua in the rain! So far anyway. Tons of geothermal activity. My AirBnB is surrounded by it as a matter of fact. Have to watch where I walk.

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  • Sherie

    December 9, 2022

    I was wondering why the beaches didn’t have a lot of people, I guess the weather explains that!
    As always, great pictures!

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    • Margie

      December 9, 2022

      Hi Sherie! Yes, it’s often been the weather, but on fine days, it’s been due to the remote locations.

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