New Zealand - island of the long white cloud - is a stunning part of the world to visit. It has a similar feel to parts of Canada, however, the real bonus is that the weather never gets as cold as Canada.
My destination for the next couple of days is Mount Maunganui, which is located on a peninsula to the north of Tauranga. Mount Maunganui is also the name of the extinct volcanic cone, which rises 232 meters above the town. The locals colloquially call the mountain The Mount.
There are walking tracks around The Mount and also up to the summit and from the top, one can view the Bay of Plenty, the expansive beaches and on a clear day, one can even see the smoke plume from the volcanic island, White Island.
I've decided not to stay in hotels this time around and am not disappointed at all.
My first couple of nights are spent in The Terraces Apartments on Ocean Beach Road. I love my apartment. It’s gorgeous. Besides the fact that I struggled to get my small rental car into the narrow garage, I still love my apartment. It is three storys high… the garage, laundry and third bedroom, opening onto a patio garden are all on the ground floor. The first floor has a kitchen, dining room and lounge room and the top floor has two bedrooms and a bathroom.
The apartments are immaculate and well appointed, which just delights me. The main bedroom and the lounge room each have a balcony overlooking the expansive beach, and of course the sea – the bay of plenty. The apartments are very reasonably priced and due to their location are an excellent start to your vacation.
I took a walk to Moturiki Island just off Mount Maunganui with my camera. There are lots of sea gulls frolicking in the water along the shores of the island. The view back to the mainland is beautiful with The Mount framing the view from one side and the sea from the other side.
The beach is clean and wide and in the early morning one will come into contact with many walkers and joggers. The streets are lined with cafe's too, so there's great opportunity to meet a friend on the beach front for a morning coffee or even breakfast (before or after a walk or stroll).
The Mount has a delightful shopping precinct spread out along the main inland street with many coffee shops, surf shops and restaurants.
If you're looking for a very relaxing vacation out of season, you won't go wrong with The Mount.
As usual, your comments are most welcome so please feel free to leave your mark!