MOUNT MAUNGA-WHO-EY?

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I figured you all must be (im)patiently waiting for my next post, so here’s some photo’s and an update from our first week in New Zealand.

As we’re currently staying with Justin’s grandparents in Katikati, we wanted to start by exploring places and areas nearby. First up was Mount Maunganui, or ‘The Mount’.

Mount Maunganui is a relaxed little beach town that takes up a peninsula at the south end of the Tauranga Harbour. First thing we noticed was the surf beach on the ocean side, where we’ll definitely be going back to for some surfing lessons (oh boy).

At the tip of the peninsula is a distinctive peak – Mauao – which rises to 230 metres above sea level. There’s several tracks to choose from, leading to the summit. Some more difficult than others.

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We were blown away by the views when we arrived, so we we’re determined to hike to the top to get the best view of them all.

Luckily we’re experienced hikers so we felt quite prepared in our jeans, flat sneakers and no water whatsoever. We came across a sign that suggested two different tracks – one 20 minutes to the top, one 30 minutes – we figured we’d go with the shortest one. Because shorter is easier right? Wrong. Very wrong. We’d actually chosen the most challenging track, we found out afterwards.

Just when we’d almost made it to the top, we saw a very long, steep stairway and I said well F that, we’ll go back another time, wear appropriate clothes/shoes, bring WATER and try again. Right after I said that, two athletically clothed women passed us by rather swiftly. I turned my head and saw one of them had A BABY strapped to her chest. Which, needless to say, made us (me) feel like full on losers. We’ll be going back next week so I’ll keep you all updated on our second try.

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Another little trip we went on was to the Owharoa Falls, which is a short drive from Katikati, near the Karangahake Gorge.

Owharoa Falls

Closeby is the Victoria Battery in Waikino. Which began its work in 1896, crushing over 800 tonnes of gold-bearing ore each day to the consistency of sand. It was the largest quartz crushing plant for gold extraction in Australasia.

Victoria Battery

Victoria Battery board

After the Battery, we drove over to Waihi, New Zealand’s ‘Heart of Gold’. Near the centre of town, you can walk to the edge of Waihi’s humongous open pit gold mine, the Martha Gold Mine.

In 1878 gold-bearing quartz was found on Pukewa spur, a Maori waypoint and burial ground which soon became the famous Martha Mine.

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IN OTHER NEWS – We got a car! Next week we’ll be taking day trips to a few spots on the North Island, and after that we’ll be going on several lengthier road trips around the North and South Island.

We’ll probably wait to go to the South Island until summer, but we’ll see what happens.

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