Tuesday 2 December 2014

To the Top of the Mount- Part 1

On Sunday morning we joined the masses on a pilgrimage to the summit of Mauao (Mt Maunganui); some walk or run it daily, others once a week, once a month, or once during a holiday at the Mount. For quite a few it’s a once in a lifetime climb, an achievement they can tick off their bucket list or be able to say proudly “I walked to the top of the Mount” or in the words of Sir Edmund Hillary, “ I knocked the bastard off”. It’s not a particularly long climb at 232 metres but it does have a few gut-busting steep sections especially if you take the shortest route to the top, the Waikorire Track.

Our granddaughter Maddie (5) stayed with us over the weekend and with the Mount being a prominent fixture in her life- she lives in Tauranga- we thought it would be great to take her on her first walk to the top of the Mount- hopefully the first of many during her lifetime.

The most popular route to the top starts at the end of the Main Beach boardwalk just past where our van is parked. There's a short sharp climb up wooden & rock stairs onto the 4WD track which gives you a good introduction to what lays ahead. It's worth walking this far just for the stunning view back over the beach.

Remember to click on the photo is you'd like to see a larger version.

It’s then a steady gentle climb through the sheep paddocks on the lower slopes of the Mount, where today, there are dozens of people out enjoying the sunny weather.

We reach a junction in the track and take the left fork up the steeper Waikorire Track, best to get this one out of the way while we’re still feeling energetic. Maddie does remarkably well- where do they get all their energy from? She runs up the stairs all the while keeping up her constant chatter and waving Poppa’s walking pole about threatening to knock walkers off the stairs or jab them in the side as they pass. She quickly learns which is her left, unlike the many overseas visitors that insist on sticking to the right hand side as they come and go- it’s like driving a car, stick to the left: ‘when in Rome….’.  It’s a pet peeve of mine when I’m walking any track, I refuse to budge; head down, bum up, I push on sticking to my side.

Our efforts are rewarded at various points with fabulous views down to the beach, the camping ground, the hot pools and out over the town.

We can see tiny ‘ant people’ walking on the track we’ve just walked up. But we can’t see our van, it’s hidden behind the second Norfolk Pine from the left.

After one last steep section (#3 photo on the right up above) and just as Maddie starts to tire we finally make it to the top where I take the obligatory summit photo with the Main Beach in the background. Maddie is a little anxious of the edge but once she sees where people have worn a path down to the rocks that overhang the cliff she wants to go down there. Not likely! This isn't her anxious face, she's about to do one of her newly learnt dance poses, cupping her chin in her hands and beaming wildly at the camera!

Moturiki & Motuotau Islands separate Main Beach from Ocean Beach. 

We move over to another lookout, this time the view is out over the inner harbour, Pilot Bay and Tauranga Port. There’s another cruise ship in port today, that’ll explain some of the over dressed walkers on the track. Good on them though, heading for the summit. I wonder if anybody has told them how tough the climb is before they started out. Going by the look of distress on some of their faces I don’t think so. I think the guy in the blue on the right is pretty proud of himself!

This is my favourite view whenever I walk to the top, I love taking this shot of the Mt Maunganui isthmus with the wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean & the Main Beach on the left with Pilot Bay and the inner harbour on the right.

As you can see I’m doing quite well without my camera, it was a bonus not having to cart it all the way to the top and my camera phone is doing a great job although it is hard to see on the screen what I'm taking shots of some times. Especially on the panoramic shots. And what do you know, there’s David talking to more people!

It’s a wonder there aren’t more incidents on the Mount, there are some quite precarious areas around the rocky edges of the summit. It would scare the living daylights out of me if I was even to attempt to climb up on these rocks let alone sit there. But what a view.

We head off on the 4WD track along the ridge. Along with the pohutukawa & flax, the manuka (NZ teatree) is also flowering. The tui were in a frenzy and we were able to get quite close to them as they flew from bush to bush, flower spike to flower spike feeding on the sweet nectar. It’s a pity that there are no bellbirds (koromiko) this far north as they would have a ball with so many nectar producing plants on the Mount.

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to see the detail in this photo, a complete 360ยบ from the summit of Mt Maunganui.

To be continued.....Part 2


  1. Excellent views! I must get up there soon.

  2. Do Olwen, and soon while the pohutukawa, manuka and flax are flowering, it's such a lovely sight.


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