Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Wild Weather at the Mount

How many people do you think walk around the Mount base track every day? For those that don’t know there is a very popular 3.5km walk around the bottom of the Mount along with a number of tracks up to the top of the Mount, an extinct volcano cone. You can read more about the Mount here when we stayed at the Mt Maunganui Holiday Park last May.

There is a discreet counter located at the top of the stairs just along the way from where we are parked & I took a reading off it last Thursday evening. I should have taken it the weekend before last when it was gorgeous weather & the school holidays. But I was more than surprised with my count considering what the weather has been like.
I don’t know what it is, but there was a significant weather event the last time we visited (see the link above) and now after having one glorious week of summer like weather not only have we had one storm we’ve had two in five days! Horrendous gale force winds arrived on Friday night buffeting the van so much during the night that we had to pull in the side for safety. The wind didn’t let up all day Saturday and along with it came torrential rain.

We felt very sorry for the first cruise ship of the season which was due into port on Saturday but couldn’t make it through the entrance and was forced to cruise up and down far out in the bay all day & night in the heaving sea. I bet then 3000 odd passengers were very pleased to reach terra-firma on Sunday even though it was still blowing hard most of the day. But at least the sun was shining.

We had a break in the weather yesterday but then in the early hours of this morning the wind started up again. We once again brought in the side and had a restless sleep being rocked & knocked about as the wind increased in velocity. The camp ground has emptied out now & there are just four vans & campers down on our level & I’m sure they were all worried as the wind gained strength. We had nobody to provide shelter like we had back in May. It was just us on our lonesome fighting the elements!

Thankfully there was a lull again mid-morning which gave us just enough time to hitch up & do a circuit of the camp ground via the dump station. All of our tanks; two grey water & one black were full to capacity, there was no way we’d have been able to leave it a moment longer. Just as we pulled back onto the site down came the rain and back came the wind at tenfold the strength we’d had before. All I can say is it was very scary; we were copping the full force of a gale strength wind that was coming directly off the sea just a few metres away. Not only was the rain horizontal but we were getting the van sandblasted for free too!
There were a couple of times when the noise & thumping got so bad I thought something was about to let go off the roof or underneath the van. It passed through my mind that we could even get blown over. David had gone out earlier for a couple of hours & I had visions of him coming home & having to climb in through the emergency window to rescue me. And I know it was bad because at one stage there was a horrendous thumping & clanging when a caravan up on the level behind us had its awning blown to smithereens.

Then the wind changed mid afternoon & we got battered from the otherside! We were a little more sheltered this time but still it was a couple of hours of rock ‘n roll before the wind finally died down. Needless to say the ute & van are now covered in salt & sand and both need a darn good clean.
The rain stopped mid-afternoon  so I took a walk around the Base track to take some photos of  the waves crashing over the rocky coastline.

And then later took more photos of the 30 or so surfers that arrived to ride the waves that were breaking out in front of our van. With the off shore wind whipping up the spray the surfers were getting some great rides. All I got was caught in a wave & stung by the sand.

And right through both these storms there was still a steady stream of dedicated people doing their daily exercise walking or running up & around the Mount. There is a constant parade of people from every walk of life passing by our kitchen window & I’ve found it fascinating watching the world go by. There was even a fashion shoot for Caroline Eves happening right beside our van. They came twice to shoot but got beaten by the wind both times.

So back to my question, I know you're dying to know. How many people have passed by our little home in the last five days? Keep in mind the weather will have deterred quite a few no doubt, but then again the cruise ship was in on Sunday & I know there were a few that did the walk. You can spot them by their white sandshoes (trainers), various cameras slung around their necks & carrying handbags & day packs;

The count at
Thursday 5pm was 12446
Friday 5pm 14176=  1730
Saturday 5pm 16941=  2765
Sunday 5pm 20873=  3932
Monday 5pm  23277=  2404
Tuesday 5pm 25620= 2343

That is a grand total of 13,174 people in five days. I find that amazing. 13,000 people in just five days when the weather has been mostly miserable. Imagine what it would be like at the height of the summer holidays. No wonder this walk is the most popular one in NZ. And based on 13,000 that would mean at least 1 million per year, but of course you would probably double the daily numbers in summer. I know a lot of those would be repeat people but still that is a lot of foot traffic.
Main Beach, Mt Maunganui

Stop Press: ETA (edited to add)- I'm still tracking the numbers passing by and I know you'll be as amazed as I am that at 5pm Friday the total was 35,000 (actually it was 35,001, it counted me as I leant over to take a look!) That means that 9,380 people have passed in three days! Absolutely incredible don't you think.


  1. Who'd have thunk it? Hope the weather improves!

  2. Sounds like we did the right thing moving out on Monday! Our country park amongst the trees was oh-so sheltered!


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