29 to 31 October 2009
Our last stop was Tauranga and Mount Manganui in the Bay of Plenty area. It was a bit wet so an ice cream seemed a good idea. That stopped the rain and allowed us to make the delightful walk around the base of Mount Manganui.
We walked around the Waikareao Estuary, approximately 9.5km. The track took us around the lake, on a boardwalk through mangrove swamps and through gardens where we spotted the New Zealand Christmas tree in early flower.
In the Tauranga area we took a walk around Pampomoa Beach, firstly through the wetlands in the Wairakei Reserve then along the beach.
As we headed back to Auckland we found Katikati, a small town built on horticulture in the 1870s. Now renowned for its ‘open air art gallery’ of murals on buildings on the main street.
Gold was mined from the Karangahake Gorge from March 1875, and increased in 1890s with improved technology. The railway tracks have been converted to walking tracks. We explored the Windows Walk into the gorge, through dark tunnels, and then back along the Waitawheta River.
After a frustrating drive around Manukau City, we finally found the Auckland Regional Botanical Gardens. They were beautiful. We loved the forest walk.
So that was a little bit of New Zealand. We will have to come back another day.