On the drive from Coromandel I took the wrong highway without even realising and I was following signs for Thames not Tauranga. It was about half an hour, maybe more, before any of us noticed and that was only because we checked our location on the phone! It added a bit more time to our journey but not too much, plus it was still a lovely drive with lovely scenery!
We got to Mount Maunganui in time for dinner and parked at a free parking area on a grassed area on a random street near a park on Nikau Crescent. It was right next to the port industrial building and next to a road, but it was free and we could see The Mount in the distance!
We were up and ready to go early on the 30th and had climbed Mount Mauao ('The Mount') by 10am. It wasn't an overly difficult hike but we still need to build our fitness! It was only 232m to the summit so nothing compared to Batur. There was something wrong with the people in this town, everybody was up bright and early and they were all climbing or running up the mount. I'm not sure that anybody works there! The town was a nice little harbour and seaside town. It was a narrow area of land and on the west side was the port where massive cargo ships came in an also where boat trips went from. On the east side was a lovely white sandy beach that stretched as long as you could see. The Mount was the northernest point of the town and of the land so you could see the small area between both coasts of the town and then out north to the open sea. It was a rich little town and all the houses where massive, beautiful modern beach homes- probably why nobody worked, they had enough money!
After our hike, that only took an hour up and down, we went to Mauao beach, the main beach, and walked down the coast for a couple of hours. It literally went on forever. We nearly walked to the next town but had to cut off and head back to town for the toilet! There were also a couple of little islands just off the beach and one of them was connected to the main beach, so we had a walk to end of that and sat and the rocks. The rest of the day was spent walking around, having a look around the town and relaxing at the port or the beach.
On the 31st we were up and off early to head to Rotorua.