Sunday, 4 February 2018

Mount Roundup

Catch-up (early December 2017)

Here's one last post from the Mount to tie up a few loose ends.

The Mt Maunganui Holiday Park is a very popular camp, especially during the run up to Christmas. Although many of the permanently parked caravans stayed shuttered up, most probably waiting for their owners to arrive over the traditional December/January holiday season.

Over on our side of the park things were hotting up too. Several school camps arrived during our second week...

... so we had to shift up to the level behind our original site. This wasn't a problem once we confirmed that we couldn't fit into the site allocated to us. Luckily it wasn't too busy and we were able to fit sideways over two smaller sites. Even though it doesn't look like it, it was actually quite a private site with our outdoor area tucked in below the bank of the next level.

While I didn't manage to walk to the top of the Mount this visit (due to my foot injury) I did manage to hobble up the 4WD track a wee way to take some photos overlooking the Summit Track...

...and the Main Beach. A continuous stream of people (over 1 million a year), both locals and visitors use the Mount tracks for their daily exercise and scenic walks. 

On one of our previous stays at the Mount, I located a auto-counter registering every person that passed through the Main Beach boardwalk gate. Over 12 days, 39,200 people passed the counter, that was mid September and it wouldn't have picked up every person as some of the tracks can be accessed from other entry points. 

The 2017 International Surf Rescue Challenge was held on the Main Beach one weekend.

As previously mentioned, the Pohutukawa were putting on a brilliant display all over the Mount and along many of the town's streets, where I also came across several rare yellow flowering pohutukawa. All yellow pohutukawa descend from a pair of trees discovered in 1840 on Motiti Island, the large flat Bay of Plenty island located 10kms off the Papamoa coastline. You can see it on the horizon in the photo above. The yellow species is a taonga (treasure) to Maori.

Tucked under the shadow of Mauao, the sheltered west end of Main Beach is very popular with families, kids can explore the rock pools at low tide while parents can watch from nearby.

A busy Main Beach as people watch the Surf Rescue Challenge. I say busy but in fact that's relative to the time of the year and the event that is on. It's just a small crowd compared to how the beach looks once the summer holidays are in full swing.

And it was a very deserted beach away from the surf rescue activity.

Visitors to the Main Beach have had to share the sand with some brave local residents; a pair of endangered NZ Dotterel and two pair of Variable Oystercatchers. New Zealand has over 16,000km of coastline available for shorebirds but these birds decided to try and raise their families on the busiest beach in the country. 

Their nests are nothing more than a scrape in the sand so it was inevitable, with the amount of people visiting the beach, that the nesting birds would be disturbed. Several of the nests (rebuilds also) were abandoned, or destroyed by the tide. The dotterel pair did managed to hatch one chick in the end although it was lost in a storm just a week or so later.

The Oystercatchers have certainly adapted to their busy beach lifestyle, they are usually quite shy birds. These ones spent their time checking out vacated beach towels for sandhoppers; listening carefully before stabbing their bills into the material. And this one below had worked out where he could find shelter from the hot midday sun.

Some more photos from Mt Maunganui- Main Beach

Moturiki Island (Motu= Island, Riki= Small) once known as Leisure Island, forms the east end of Main Beach. In 1966 Marineland opened an aquarium here where dolphins and other marine life were on display. Fifteen years later it was replaced by another attraction, Leisure Island, which had large swimming pools, bumper boats & hydro slides. That closed in 1990 and the island has been allowed to revert to it's natural state. Many people still refer to the island as 'Leisure Island' though. 

Just a few steps east of Moturiki is Motuotau Island, also known as Rabbit Island. Named either because of the shape of the island from its southern side or from the 'rabbit burrows' seen by early Europeans. The 'rabbit burrows' are in fact burrows of the Grey-faced Petrel, Common Diving Petrel and a few other seabirds. Motuotau is one of New Zealand's closest offshore pest free islands, it's also home to dozens of Little Blue Penguins who roost at night in amongst the rocky shoreline.

Resting in the shade of an old Pohutukawa Tree, Moturiki Island.

The view back over Main Beach from Moturiki Island.

The east end of the beach is a popular surf spot, although there wasn't much happening this day.

Of course if the busy Main Beach doesn't appeal to the visitor there are many kilometres of golden sand beach stretching east around the long Bay of Plenty coastline- this is Tay Street Beach, Mt Maunganui.

My Mount blog wouldn't be complete without mentioning the grandchildren- one of the main reasons we were back in the Bay before Christmas. 

The Strand- Tauranga Waterfront
Amongst many visits and activities, we took Joel (4) along to the Tauranga City Santa Parade to see his sister Maddie (8) on one of the floats- that's her waving at us from the back of roller-derby float. And we also went along to watch Maddie compete (along with over 1000 other kids) in the Weetbix Kids TRY-athalon on what turned out to be the hottest day of the early summer!

I take my hat off to the organisers and volunteer helpers though, the event ran as smooth as clock-work. Which, if you'd seen the huge mass of bikes, you'd have thought otherwise.


  1. Mt Maunganui area was our last stop on our tour last April. It was the only place to give us some fine sunny (maybe 20 degrees C) weather but it was our last was tough to tear ourselves away that day and head for the airport :( Lovely part of NZ... i know you used to live around there.

    1. Yes, it a well known holiday playground for Kiwi and overseas visitors alike. Glad you managed to get some fine weather.

  2. You have made me want to come back to NZ again (4th) time after our next visit in March, by showing me what we missed in Mt Manganui/Tauranga on our last trip. Yes as you can see we are in love with NZ, having spent time on North island in 2014/15 and again in 2016 and very soon in 2018.This time we are camper vanning around the South Island for 2 weeks. Any tips? Michele Down Under

    1. Sorry for the delay in responding, we've been out of range for quite a bit of time recently. Any tips you ask :) So many and far too many to list here, maybe just the one this have to read the blog from go to woah, there are many in there! ;)


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