The final destination for my wife and I on our tour of New Zealand’s beautiful North Island was the northern port city of Tauranga. Tauranga is the ninth largest city in New Zealand and features one of the largest ports in the country. This area has always served as a harbor with Tauranga actually meaning “safe anchorage” in the local Maori dialect.
Tauranga is actually a nice blue collar town which is experiencing much economic growth. However, the main reason tourists come to visit Tauranga is not because of economic growth but because of the nice beaches to the north of the town and the beautiful volcanic cone of Mt. Maunganui that towers over the harbor city:
The volcanic cone of Mt. Maunganui sits on the tip of a peninsula that extends out from the New Zealand mainland helping to from the natural harbor that is the livelihood of the people of the city. On the ocean side of this peninsula is one of the most popular beaches in the area:
At the far end of the beach is where the trail up Mt. Maunganui begins:
The start of the trail is a fairly steady ascent up the volcanic cone which quickly provides a nice view back over the beach below:
The beach was not overly busy the day we visited the area, probably due to the cool breeze blowing over the beach, but this same breeze did cause quite a few sail boaters to sail the nearby seas:
Besides views of the beach and the sea the lookout I was at also had some great views up towards the rocky summit of the volcano as well:
Continuing up the mountain the well maintained trail began to become much steeper as I closed in on the summit of the mountain:
On the top of Mt. Maunganui is a few benches, a weather station, and a historical marker:
The historical marker was placed on the summit to recognize the friendship between the local settlers and the indigenous Maori people:
The view of the peninsula from the summit is really quite stunning:
Besides having a nice beach, the peninsula below Mt. Maunganui is filled with me hotels, bars, and great restaurants. As can be seen from the summit it is a really nice place to visit.
Besides looking over the peninsula the summit also provides views down into the actual crater of this extinct volcano:
The crater is filled with grass, shrubs, and trees but I could easily make out the crater and even proceeded to walk along the rim of the crater in order to get more views of the surrounding country side to include this view looking over the bay towards the actual city of Tauranga:
I continued to walk around the rim and was rewarded with a spectacular view of a stunning beach that extended out into the distance as far as I could see:
This view of this beautiful beach made me wish I had more time to spend to explore this beautiful area of the country, but my wife and I actually had to get back to Auckland in order to catch a flight to the South Island the next morning. Our trip around New Zealand’s North Island was really quite spectacular and was really capped by this great hike up to the top of beautiful Mt. Maunganui.
Next Posting: On to the South Island
Prior Posting: Video of the Te Puia Thermal Valley
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