Guess what? This morning it was raining again and also, thunder clapped loudly over Tauranga. Luckily the thunder died down after breakfast. Eric and I contemplated what to do and decided we’d climb Mount Maunganui (or Mauao as it is also called) in the town of Mount Maunganui. It is an extinct volcano on the tip of the peninsular just across the bridge from Tauranga. If the rain continued we’d go to the climbing gym The Rock House. In full rain gear we headed out the door.

The weather was off. Half the sky was a grey cloud and the other half sun over the harbor when we arrived at the base of the mountain. Eric and I walked the 3.4km circuit around the base of Mauao wondering where the trail up was. Of course we found it just as the circut ended… from the park entrance head around the right side of the circuit for faster access. There trail leads through sheep pasture (yes there are sheep in this park) to a junction where you can choose to climb the lightly graded Oruahine Track or the steeper Waikorire track. We opted for Oruahine… which happened to led us right past some bolted climbing routes! The rock looked solid and the routes awesome… but it was raining yet again.

Note that many folks climb the mountain including some trail runners. This not a trail for solitude. The summit is broad and includes some benches amount with another survey marker. It was too cloudy for views. We headed down the Waikorire track which we thought was better graded even though it is steeper.

Surprisingly, but the time we got to the trail-head and rain was little more than a drizzle. The beach was  filled with surfers along a small peninsular. Eric and I decided to stay outside for the day as long as there was no thunder. We drove back to the hostel, grabbed our bathing-suits, and then headed back to Mount Manunganui. The sun was coming out along with a lovely blue sky. It seemed that every other piece of land in the distance was under a grey raincloud though. The water was pretty warm for the ocean and the swells large! Body surfing was amazing and we played in the waves for over an hour. Then we walked out to the little peninsular which had a small trail to it’s tip. Waves crashed violently over the rocks sending own towers of spray!

After another swim, Eric and I wander around the town. It is a typical beach town. Lots of cafes (most with a 15% surcharge since it was Good Friday) and beach shops. We stopped in Sunny’s Variety store and bought some Hokey Pokey chocolate for $2. We then decided to climb back up the mountain using the Waikorire track this time. We had good views when we summited before heading back to the hostel.


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