Tauranga is a port town in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I am endlessly fascinated by ports, container ships, and the logistics that go into getting goods from one end of the planet to the other. Even though Tauranga is New Zealand’s biggest port, it’s considerably smaller than our local Port of Long Beach, but that didn’t make me any less excited to see the familiar cranes and stacks of containers as we arrived.
Our little guy was looking less and less like a baby, but hadn’t taken his first steps yet. He was getting so confident standing unsupported. We loved this sign that notified us of the daily gathering allowances for seafood…because delicious New Zealand mussels were just lying around here!It came to my attention that although we had sheep in the background of numerous pictures, we hadn’t yet made them the focal point of any shots. It really was wonderful to be there during lambing season! Kris captured these adorable images. The most easily recognizable landmark in Tauranga is Mount Maunganui, known simply as “the Mount”. It’s an extinct volcanic cone also known by its Maori name, Mauao, which means “caught by the dawn”. The legend behind the name can be found here, but basically, this unnamed mountain was trying to make it to another mountain in search of love when it was caught by the dawn and trapped there.
We climbed to the top of the Mount on one of the fantastic trails that wraps around it. The views going up are spectatular. I probably would have enjoyed the view more if I hadn’t insisted it was my turn to carry the baby, not realizing just how steep the trail was going to get in some places. I was sucking wind by the time we reached the summit, but it was worth it! The beach that Kris is overlooking in the image below was voted New Zealand’s Best Beach on TripAdvisor and is considered one of the Top 25 beaches in the world. While it is lovely, I think some of the beaches down in the Catlins or Abel Tasman or Punakaiki could give it a run for its money. We shall simply have to visit them all again to decide! Did we miss any this time around that you think we should catch next time?We took a different trail to come back down that had stairs instead of just a steep path. We passed some burly dudes wearing weighted vests on their way up the stairs, obviously training. I’m pretty sure my weighted pack was heavier…and mine was wriggling and pulling my ponytail the whole way! I would have compared notes with them, but I was breathing too heavily to do more than nod on the way past. Not a bad beach, right? Tauranga looks like a very nice place to live!
Back in the motorhome for the night, we had a funny moment with Xander. He kept pointing insistently at the cabinet (the one in the picture below) where we had been keeping all of his toys. We couldn’t figure out what he wanted, so I pulled his toys out one at a time to figure out what he was after. He just kept getting more and more agitated pointing in that direction. Finally, after emptying the entire cabinet without finding what he wanted, we realized he wasn’t pointing at the cabinet at all, but at the light that was partially out. He just wanted us to acknowledge that there was something different about it compared to all the other lights. We pointed to it and talked about the fact that it was broken and that he was absolutely right. He got a huge grin on his face and went back to playing quite happily. It’s amazing to get these little insights into how his mind works at the moment. Our next stop was Hahei to see the gorgeous Cathedral Cove. For the complete list of New Zealand Adventure posts, look here.