Queens Birthday. Also known as day-of-beautiful-weather-before-the-rain-hits-but-because-its-a-holiday-we-can’t-work day. It’s going to rain most of this week, but Monday is off limits because nobody wants to offer up holiday pay. As such my group consider heading to Mt. Maunganui for the day, but since I don’t hear from them all morning I assume the idea is panned and spend most of the day getting some fiction writing done. Haven’t gotten anywhere near as much as I wanted done while travelling so it’s good to get a chunk out.
You can imagine my surprise when around 3, the phone rings with Sarah telling me the boys are gonna head there in the next half hour. It seems odd to me considering it’ll take us half an hour to get there, and by the time we climb the mountain the sun will be setting and we’ll have to get down in the dark, but since I’ve never been to Mt. Maunganui and it would be good to do something with the day, I agree and get ready to head off.
I’ve been to Mt. Maunganui for food a few times, but never seen the iconic hill overlooking the ocean before. It’s not particularly tall, but is very wide and mostly covered in grass and trees. When we arrived at the bottom, the maps aren’t particularly helpful – it’s difficult to tell exactly what path you are allowed to take to get to the top. In the end we decided to wing it and just follow everyone else.
The first part of the walk takes you around the edge, overlooking the water and beaches. Here you get a great view of the tankers coming into harbour, and this pretty awesome beach which gets covered in writing throughout the day.
We also got distracted by a boat that was digging up sand just off shore, and in trying to get a good photo, Sarah got bored and spend on ahead – something she later regretted. Once we had our shots, the boys and headed onwards, eventually discovered a small dirt path about halfway round the mountain, which led up to a stile and people heading upwards. Figured it’s the best way up we’ve seen and head up, hoping Sarah had spotted it and done the same.
She hadn’t, and once we reached the midway point and had to make a decision on what path to take, we managed to get hold of her. She couldn’t find the way we’d taken, or a different way up, and as it was getting dark, by the time she caught up with us it would probably be too late to see anything. As such she’d meet us when we came back down, and we headed back up, taking the harder-but-shorter route to save time.
It’s rather pathetic how out of shape I am considering I’m doing physical labour for a job. It’s a very steep walk, with very rough steps that without light is difficult to navigate. Thankfully, once we get to the top, the view is pretty worth it.
You can see all of Mt. Maunganui, as well as the nearby towns and a good chunk of the coast. Unfortunately, by the time we got up there the sun had set, and I wanted to head down before the light had completely faded. The boys wanted to stay to see the city at night, so I bade farewell and headed down a different road, hoping it was the easier path.
Really don’t think it was. Not only was it pretty steep, but it was covered in gravel. In the dark, armed with an iphone torch, I had to slip down inch by inch to make sure I didn’t fall. On top of this, ten minutes I had no idea where I was, and could only keep following the road I was on, hoping it would eventually lead to the entrance. It did – and I think I somehow ended up on the emergency road you’re not meant to use. Either way, found my way to Sarah, and hung around until the boys showed up about 15 minutes later with awesome photographs.