We didn’t do a heck of a lot with our time in Tauranga – partially because of the weather – but just enough to wind down a bit from some intense experiences, reflect a bit, and get ready for Australia.
Most of our potential plans were outdoors, as usual, so with all the rain we ended up at an unintended stop, the Mount Hot Pools. There are several outdoor swimming pools of different temps from a comfortable kids’ pool to a hot tub temperature. It was about 50 degrees outside and raining half the time and the kids had fun while James and I tried not to complain about still being too cold.
The next morning the showers were less frequent and dumpy so we went ahead and summited Mount Maunganui! Evidence? Here I am at the blue dot right on top:
It looks super impressive! And we did climb lots and lots of stairs… but only for about half an hour. I feel like other mountains would be a little offended that Mount Maunganui calls itself a mountain. But this wasn’t a super kid-complainy day (a LOT of fighting, but not much whining) and we totally got to the top of a really big hill either way. I am still surprised when I look at it that it was really that fast.
It was difficult to explore the town much in the rain, so we didn’t entirely know what was there and went out in the afternoon just to get a little air and activity, probably at a park. After taking a wrong turn, we ended up at a great little spot on the coast – Moturiki Island, which looks to be joined to the main beach by a short manmade stone and sand path.
Every kid was angry at different times about going here instead of the park, but all ended up having tons of fun climbing rocks, searching for shells, and running away from crashing waves.
I made everyone do an impromptu “Goodbye New Zealand” ceremony on the rocks right before we returned to the car. We each shared our favorite memory before Quinn sang some sort of closing tribal chant. Quinn started by saying “the lush green vegetation” (!Wow Quinn!); Zachary said either the helicopter ride, the alpaca at the Agrodome, or the Maori night; I chose the Maori experience; James agreed with Quinn and chose the unique landscape; and Cam, “the park in the United States”.
After a long day driving three hours back to Auckland and then taking the four hour flight to Melbourne, we grabbed an Uber over to our next abode: a incredibly white apartment where everything is white and there are several (framed in white) signs warning us not to get anything dirty or we will pay dearly. Super welcoming. Ha! We are on the 31st floor of a high rise, with wicked views of the city from floor to ceiling windows that completely freak me out.
And… it is raining!