Leaving Mt Maunganui we headed south to Papamoa, another beach front area which has seen huge amounts of developments in previous years. We stocked up with food and petrol before heading towards Rotorua. We picked a great time of the year to travel……….berries!!! Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries by the punnet we devoured and they were cheap. We travelled pack lots of little vans who had set up on the side of the road selling not only berries but a range of stonefruits, avos and some vegies. All very cheap and very fresh.
We arrived in Rotorua and chose to stay at the Rotorua Themal Park on the outskirts of town. Again like many parks in Rotorua it had its own mineral pools, of differing temperatures as well as a fresh water pool for the children. We spent quite a lot of time in the pools over the 3 days that we stayed here.
The park was quite spacious and campervan areas were set in shady areas all close to the large kitchen and dining room. The amenities were clean with ample hot water.
We left Hot Water Beach and headed towards Tauranga and `The Mount` as it is affectionately named. Mt Maunganui is situated in the city of Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty region of New Zealand. It is New Zealand`s favourite summer holiday destination with its white sandy suurf beach on the ocean side, and a safe sheltered inner harbour beach. Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcano which rises above the beautiful Mount Maunganui surf beach. We stayed at http://www.mountbeachside.co.nz/ at the base of The Mount and directly opposite the beach. This place had a feel like Burleigh Heads with its Esplanade Shops, variety of restaurants and tourists. A very popular destination and it is easy to see why. The Mount is covered in walking tracks and at any time of the day there we oodles of walkers enjoying the range of tracks which cater for all abilities and all with stunning ocean views.
Spend some time enjoying the beach and walk to the sounthern end where the land juts out allowing you to walk along it and take in the scenery back towards the Mount and down towards Papamoa. Amazing views of the local islands the stunning beaches.
We chose to explore the harbour with Phil and Adventure Sail http://www.adventuresail.co.nz/ We enjoyed the scenery and even saw some penguins!!! We left port and entered the bay, allowing us to fully appreciate the mountain. A stunning morning and one we all enjoyed.
Hot Water Beach is a natural phenonomen which sees tourists flock to the beach with spade in hand to dig themselves a hole to sit back and enjoy the natural hot water that rises out of the ground. Check the tides as it is only really viable one hour each side of low tide. Lots of local businesses display tide times and also hire spades for the experience. This was a very popular spot during our holidays and we saw the population of Hot Water Beach almost triple. There are some awesome cafe and restaurants in town and surfing is a popular past time. A nice place to spend a night or a few hours.