Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mt Maunganui & Natural Hot Springs

To give everyone an idea who doesn't know or isn't familiar, this is a birds eye view from the Mount of the thin strip of land known as Mt. Maunganui. A magnificent stretch of beach and one of the fastest growing populations in NZ.
 Photo credit* Rambo Estrada

 This was probably one of the longest days during our week's holiday in NZ. With Rags flat and swell beckoning on the East Coast I decided to check out an old haunt, Mt Maunganui, where I used to hitchhike to and learnt to Lifeguard at back in my high school days with friends Chris and Justin (Merp). The place has changed unbelievably so over the years. What was once a sleepy surf town with classic kiwi baches and spacious backyards is now a lively happening place with massive cruise ships filled with tourists from Australia and beyond as well as sky high condominiums and apartments lining the main beach. However, it still hasn't lost that cool beach vibe that attracted me to it back in the day and we even managed to score some fun uncrowded waves on Main Beach in the middle of summer. I have a hunch that the island across the harbour was firing that day which may explain the lineup....but you need a boat to access that. Maybe next time.

Me and Mum checking out her new(ish) camper before we left.
 A chicken pie for breakfast from the BP servo on the way.
 Top of the Kaimai Ranges looking back over the Waikato plains and Hobbitville (Lord of the Rings set)
 We're here!
 Shinya and Ken waxing up Main Beach with the Mount behind them. (FREE Parking STILL!)
 The Mount Beach looking North to the Surf Club.
 The Mount Beach looking South to Leisure Island and Shark Alley where we used to run out to, jump off and swim in for training.
 Cracking the lip on a nice juicy righthander.
 Beach volleyball crew were training hard for an upcoming contest.
 Damn tasty Ginger Beer after a long surf sesh in the sun.
 The most expensive sandwich I've ever bought. What was I thinking?! I was too drained from surfing to look any further. Still, it tasted fine.
On the road again to Rotorua going past the local train.
 Our semi-secret natural hot spring just out of Rotorua.
 Shinya enjoying the 36 degree water after a long fun day in the sun surfing.
 BYO Beers were the icing on the cake!
Huge thanks to my long time mate, Chris, for taking care of us in Rotorua.  Arigatou from us all!!

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