From Hobbiton we headed over to the east coast and found ourselves in the very laid back Mount Maunganui in Tauranga. It’s long sandy main beach stretches right up to the base of the ‘Mount’ which is exactly where our campsite was located. What a spot! We climbed the mountain that afternoon to gain views all across the city, harbour and coastline. It didn’t take us long and was well worth it. The following morning we were up early to enjoy a walk along the beach, watching the surfers ride the waves, while others were filling the numerous cafe, juice and coffee shops along the front before we headed further north.
Sticking to the coast we passed through Waihi Beach and Bowen town, a stunning stretch of surf beach and secluded bays.
Just inland was the town of Waihi, New Zealand's 'Heart of Gold', with a gold mining history spanning three centuries and a local open-pit mine that is still fully operational.
Through Whangamata and Tairua to the Mount Paku Lookout. Stunning. We took the walk to the top of the hill and were rewarded with 360° panoramic views. The colour of the water was astonishing. So clear we could see stingrays from several hundred metres high. We could see the waves rolling into Pauanui Beach, a popular holiday resort which also lies on a series of canals, out to the AldermanIslands and back down over Tairua’s harbour.
Then it was off to Hahei where we based ourselves for a couple of nights. Hahei is the gateway to Hot Water Beach and the famous Cathedral Cove, a beautiful limestone rock arch that separates two white sandy beaches. Our campsite here was right on Hahei beach. At the southern end of the beach is the Te Pare historic reserve with an ancient Maori pa (fortified village)site accessible via a walking track from the beach.
CHECK OUT OUR HIGHLIGHTS FROM OUR ADVENTURE FROM MOUNT MAUNGANUI TO HAHEI IN THE VIDEO BELOW!