Our first adventure was to Tauranga, a great little seaside town on the east coast. The perfect location if you’re looking for a lowkey weekend getaway as you don’t have to search far and wide for things to do during your short stay. On our first day, we enjoyed walking around the Mount (link to hike), we didn’t get a chance to hike to the top, but that just means we have another excuse to visit again!
Afterward, we walked along the strip of shops and had a delicious lunch then went for a massage and a dip in the Mount hot pools (don’t worry, if you’re like me and forgot your bathing suit, known as “togs” here, there are lots of surf shops around you can pick one up at). The water in the hot pools is saltwater pumped from Pilot Bay, across from the pools. It’s then heated geothermically by hot rocks deep underground, it is actually geothermal activity from Rotorua, but the distance and depth mean it loses the sulfur smell. (You can read about the process on the Mount hot pools website, it’s pretty interesting reading about how they use the natural resources available to them!) We spent a few hours enjoying the warmth of the pools as it was a pretty stormy winter day, the lifeguards were bundled head to toe in toques, scarfs and winter coats which gave us a chuckle as the last time we visited hot pools together was in the Rocky Mountains of Canada, where the lifeguards wore just a winter jacket and pants in -20 weather (yes, our hair did freeze), compared to the bundled up 12 degree lifeguards here. We timed our massage so we would be in the hot pools after right at sunset, which was the perfect way to end our day.
The next day we hung out at the beautiful white sanded beach next to the mount, enjoyed some real fruit ice cream, and walked around the harbour before going to the mall so I could pick up some items I couldn’t fit into my suitcase. Then I had a few beauty appointments as I wasn’t able to schedule any at home before I left. Bayfair mall had quite a good selection of shops and I met the kindest ladies at my appointments, so if you ever want to treat yourself in Tauranga, definitely do so! The “Sugaring room” is a popular sugar waxing salon and “Beauty by Renee” offers really dreamy facials, I didn’t get a chance to see her during my visit but it will be at the top of my list for next time!
Before driving back up north we took a hike to Kaiate falls (link hike) which wasn’t a far drive from town and has a nice swimming hole to cool off in towards the bottom, but we didn’t give it a go this time since it is winter, again, another reason to visit beautiful Tauranga! If you’d like to read more about the Kaiate falls hike and the base mount trail, click the links or visit the “Hikes” page on my blog, here I give more details on the time, distance, and difficulties of different hikes we’ve tried.
Have you visited Tauranga? Where/what is your go-to spot when visiting there? Comment down below, I’d love to visit some more spots the next time we go.