It was time to move on from Kawerau, so we packed up while trying to dodge the rain. Our next stop was to be Tauriko, just out of Tauranga. Arriving at our POP, we were welcomed by the very friendly owner, who helped us get parked up amongst the trees in his avocado orchard. And what a lovely place it is, so nice and peaceful here, but goodness, was it cold overnight! Thank goodness for my soft and cuddly Arctic sheets on the bed, and power on site for my electric blanket. Our host came armed with a large bag of avocados to be shared amongst us all, that was so kind of him. These were the last of the season’s crop, he told us. And although we could see small fruit growing on the trees surrounding us, these will slowly mature and will be picked next season, we were told.
We took a trip to Papamoa today to visit some old friends. The town of Papamoa is very popular with retirees, and is the largest and fasted growing suburb in the city of Tauranga, practically bursting at the seams with retirement villages. Our friends invited us for lunch, so Robin set his trusty Garmin and away we went. But it had a bit of a hissy fit as we neared our destination – the massive earthworks and new roads were all too much and the Garmin didn’t know quite where we were. Common sense sorted out the last of the route and found our friend’s house, and we spent several very pleasant hours there. After a lovely lunch, several cups of coffee, and much chat, it was time to say goodbye. Robert and Louise are campers too, and have a lovely Kea Dreamtime motor-home. We were lucky we caught them home, as they are away on another trip in a few days time.
Waving goodbye, we headed towards Mt Maunganui – known affectionately as The Mount. This a very popular spot indeed, with a lovely beach, plenty of cafes and accommodation for holidaymakers to suit all budgets. The young and fit like to walk up Mauao, Mt Maunganui’s dormant cone shaped volcano which sits at the end of the beach. You can just make out the motor camp full of holiday makers in their caravans at the base of the mountain.
By the time we left Mt Maunganui and started our drive home we were caught up in heavy traffic with all the workers trying to do the same thing. Once past all the traffic lights and various round-about, we were back on SH29 and travelling at a reasonable speed again. Almost home, there were just a couple of quick stops to make. The first was to check out the NZMCA site at Tauriko Park, which is quite near to where we are currently staying. Two vans were on site on the roomy grassy area. This is a basic site, with no facilities or water, and is pack in and pack out for rubbish. Last stop was to have a look at an intriguing sign we kept seeing out of the corner of our eye as we drove past. Anyone for a rooster – we know where they are going for free!