We spent the morning spent at Wai-O-Tapu, in the afternoon we head north to the Bay of Plenty near the city of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui, reaching Papamoa Beach later in the afternoon. Situated directly onto the beach we camp down for a couple of end of holiday ‘beach with no driving’ days. It a chilled out place to be which gives us the chance to wander along the beach with the view of Motiti Island in the distance. On the first night we try the nearby fish restaurant overlooking the beach and the next day we are lucky enough to find a food and beer festival going on right next door, so of course we join in for some local beer and live acoustic music. Lulled to the sounds of Crowded House and the waves of the beach on the Bay of Plenty, it’s a chilled out place to be.
After the relaxing time on spent on Papamoa Beach, we had already booked ahead for the campsite in Hahei for a couple of nights, so we head north again towards the Coromandel Peninsula. We visit the Katikati Bird Gardens near Omokoroa and take a walk around the lush gardens and ponds all the while followed by the more persistent ducks and geese after our bag of bird feed. The gardens have secluded Lillie ponds under the trees and Black Swans swim over the surface of the lake. A number of different types of chickens, geese and pheasants wander freely around the park.
In the afternoon we arrive in Tairua but even though we’ve been through before I can’t remember it, so after crossing the river bridge we stop and wander towards mud flats towards the cone-shaped island situated at the mouth of the estuary. It turns out to be the remains of a volcano, Paku Summit, which has been eroded over time to leave the cone shape. It’s unusual because it does seem to be an island but is still connected to the land and it is covered with houses each competing for the best view of the Bay. The tide is out at the moment allowing people to walk across the sands or wind surf on the mud flats.
Our drive over the Coromandel doesn’t disappoint, the landscape is green with vegetation, over the rolling and twisting roads we travel at each turn catching glimpses out the sea which dotted with small islands and rocks. At a clearing in the Coromandel forest was stop and gaze out over the trees and rolling hills to the sea beyond. Hahei, is a small village sat directly onto the beach, its houses are lined up along the beach road, at the end there is a large campsite which has direct access to the sands. As soon after setting up we are in the water, emerald-green and clear, just off shore there are a cluster of large and small islands out in the bay. Beautiful.
Check outage bird gardens of Katikati near Omokoroa, Katikati Bird Gardens.
Where : Papamoa Beach on the Bay of Plenty, North Island, New Zealand
Travelling : On the Bay of Plenty, North Coast. Mount Maunganui is where the party is, very busy lots of pubs and restaurants. Papamoa Beach is quiet in comparision a place to chill out.
Camping : Papamoa Beach Resort, directly onto the beach about a quarter of an hour from Mount Maunganui. Easy to walk to the nearby restaurant or into town.
Next Up : Cathedral Cove