Saturday 29 November 2014

Full Circle- Mt Maunganui

Well, we’ve come full circle, we’re parked up on the front row beside the Mount boardwalk on exactly the same site as we had 14 months ago when we began our new life on the road. Many of the sites behind us and overlooking the beach are closed; concrete pads and new grass have been laid and this is putting pressure on the remaining sites. I can see there’s going to be a constant stream of ever changing neighbours over the next three weeks.

At the moment we have three families in tents on one side of us, they have nine children under 5 between them. Brave people! Brave us! I had to laugh this morning when two of the Dads came back with takeaway coffees and hid behind the tent (which happened to be beside our dining window) while a kid was screaming on the other side. I suspect one of them would have been called on, had he shown his face.

Another cruise ship arrived this morning, I saw her on the horizon as I left the van for my morning walk. I knew she wasn’t far away when the tugs passed me on their way out to assist her through the entrance.

I waited down on the sand near Stoney Point for her to pass through, it never fails to impress me how big the ships are as they come through the very narrow entrance. And the Pacific Pearl is far from the biggest cruise ship to visit the port.

Tangaroa, Maori God of the sea, performs a wero, or challenge, to those entering the Tauranga Harbour.

I wonder how many locals know that Tangaroa used to face into the harbour. He was commissioned in 1976 to commemorate the centenary of the Port of Tauranga but was turned around in 2007 to face incoming vessels as this was the correct stance to challenge new arrivals.

Along the beach the pohutukawa (NZ Christmas tree) are finally starting to bloom but there’s still only a hint of crimson from the hundreds of trees over the Mount.

According to folklore, an early bloom means a long, hot summer and we’ve certainly had some lovely days this past week; warm and very humid overnight. Although today there’s a cool breeze blowing.

Tauranga City Council & the Dune Protection people have been hard at work while we’ve been away; restoration work, planting of sand tussock and other native grasses and fencing of the sand dunes along the Main & Ocean Beaches has been completed and it's all looking very good.

There are plenty of well marked walkways and sand ladders down to the beach and picnic tables, seats and gas BBQs (free to use) have been upgraded or added at various spots.

The controversial boardwalk along Pilot Bay has also been completed and looks like it's always been there. It’s much easier to negotiate from one end to the other with a defined walkway as you’re not stepping over or around sunbathers, kayaks, sail boards or picnicking families (obviously not a problem in this shot) or across uneven ground. It's great for visiting cruise ship passengers as it leads the way down to the Mount Base Track and is a continuation of the Main Beach boardwalk theme.

Mt Maunganui is definitely looking very smart & sleek and is well geared up for the summer influx of visitors. A proper little resort town.

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