It had to be done.
I have been telling myself I needed another exercise challenge.
Especially now that me and my new tramping boots are rediscovering the New Zealand bush and my leg muscles. Time to take the Mount on once again and make it a regular thing. That is the theory! Whether it is here or elsewhere I need to get hill fit.
One morning a few weeks ago, seemed a good enough day to just do it.
I started the walk skywards via the boardwalk which runs alongside the beach with clear signage of the Mauao Reserve and the start of the walking tracks.
The lower half of the extinct volcano is carpeted in lush farmland with the very bottom lined with pohutukawa trees, a native tree found on coastal areas with branches that seem to wind out of control. There gloriously rich red blooms make a dramatic appearance from early December to January.
It is our “New Zealand Christmas Tree”. I couldn’t resist mentioning my favourite tree.
BIRDS AND VIEWS START ROLLING IN
It’s a steady climb, to begin with on this lower part of the mountain. Rabbits and blackbirds hop near my feet, not seeming bothered whatsoever by people jogging by. Tauranga is no different from various other cities in that there is always a favourite place in which to exercise, with that place here being The Mount.
Even before I gained any real height on The Mount, terraces beside the track provide spectacular vantage points of Mt Maunganui’s long-stretching white sand beach.
DIFFICULT OR MODERATE?
I soon come to a split in the track with the quick but “difficult” climb to the summit, or the longer but “moderate” walk to the summit. However, I like to think that the “moderate” route has to be the scenic and the one to chose!
CLIFFS AND OCEAN VIEWS
The track circumvents the perimeter of The Mount below huge rocky cliffs occupied by pigeons. I stop a couple of times when a native fantail, a bird with some acrobatic skills thanks to its fan-like tail, nearly flies into my face. Whoever decides to walk up the mount you will undoubtedly have some fantastic views out to the Pacific Ocean.
A QUICK DELVE INTO BUSH
The track then takes me into a small section of native forest, a complete contrast to the green farmlands I was on before. What is lovely is that I can hear the warbling noises of the native tui bird filling this section of forest, but the dark metallic blue and black birds blend in too well with the shade of the canopy.
THE FINAL PUSH TO EPIC VISTAS
Yes, it is an old photo of me. I was so busy enjoying the view [as much as someone who dislikes heights can enjoy it!]. So did a few other people. Early morning is much preferable!The final uphill struggle and believe me it was a struggle, as it has certainly been a while since I have ventured up here. It finally brings me to an exposed mountaintop with low vegetation revealing a whole level more of views. Benches are here, there and everywhere to pick a spot to catch my breath.
Once seated it is hard not to spend time daydreaming and gazing out towards the expansive ocean, overlooking the central urban area of Tauranga City from across the harbour, or oversee the long sandspit below of Mt Maunganui wedged between a beach and a harbour.
The descent is the hardest part of the walk for me, quite jarring on my knees. The only thing to recover from that is a good quality espresso with a view.
To see more pics and views of the Mount follow me via Instagram HERE.
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