May 05, 2013

A couple of days in Mount Maunganui

A couple of days in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
We came across from Sydney to visit some friends that live in Tauranga and had a few days to look around.
It’s May, so out of the main summer peak but still warm during days and cool at night. We did have a few rain showers but still managed to do everything we wanted.

Climbing the mount
Being a hobbyist photographer we had to climb the mount for the views. It was probably lucky it rained in the morning and there were no crowds.

Getting started; there are two route, a single track that starts in the caravan park on the ocean side and a double track behind the hot pools (toilets) on the bay side. Which is better? the bay side is out of the wind perfect for an autumn day, but would get very hot on a mid summers day. So it depends which season you are here. I would recommend to go up one and down the other because the view are different and impressive on each.

Mills Reef Winery
A mixed bag of wines. Elspeth, Reserve and standard ranges. Our pick; the Merlot Malbec Reserve, Syrah in the Elspeth (Celar for 5-10 years to bring out the best in it)

Food & restaurants
There are loads of good little cafes and restaurants around Tauranga and the Mount. Most with good quality coffee, but could may be just a little more attention to making it.

I am always pleasantly surprised by the quality of the local New Zealand meat bought from the supermarket so we had a BBQ with some beers one night. The beer of choice was from Boundary Road Brewery a craft Auckland brewery, and the Bouncing Czech, Pilsener a beautifully created strong hoppy taste.

For our last meal we are at the Osteria da Gina, a new Italian in the centre of the Mount. The faux gas open fire kept us toasty during the evening. The food was very and an authentic Italian experience with anti pasta’s, pasta, main, (sides) dessert, coffee & liqueurs, it did remind me of living Italy. I ate the lamb shanks, which just fell off the bone. We drink a Sangiovese Toscana a fairly light red, but enjoy it with the shanks.

If you are driving down from Auckland the Woodturners cottage is a great stop for a pie, cake and coffee.

A good destination to relax and enjoy the NZ small town way of life. Best enjoyed in the peak of summer on the beach. Mount Maunganui is like a micro Gold Coast, with a dozen 10 story building and a street of cafes, restaurants and shops.


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