What you are about to read you will not be able to un-read, rendering your life changed completely and forever, getting a taste of paradise. Please don’t blame me if you find yourself setting up a TradeMe search favourite for real estate in this incredible corner of the world. A few years ago, my husband and I were lucky enough to re-locate to Mount Maunganui, Tauranga in the North Island of New Zealand due to a job opportunity. While we only lived there for 10 months, we fell in love with our gorgeous neighbourhood.
Mount Maunganui is a suburb on the Northwest side of Tauranga, on a peninsula that juts out into the Bay of Plenty, ending in a monumental extinct volcano, Mauao. To the Southwest of Mount Maunganui is Pilot Bay, where locals often sit on the bank next to kayaks and paddle boards, mingling together eating fish & chips at sunset. To the Northeast, the waves break onto white sand beaches, and a seeming multitude of surfers in wet suits float on their boards together waiting for the next big wave. And to top off this amazing concentration of natural beauty, the region boasts the most sunshine hours in all New Zealand, along with Nelson in the South Island.
The locals of Mount Maunganui, lovingly known as “Mounties”, have an amazing rhythm of life and appreciation for their surroundings. We loved waking up on a Saturday morning, and trekking up to the top of Mauao. The track was usually packed with those running, walking and even taking their children on packs up to the top or around the base of the mount. The 30-minute walk up the track is filled with steps (and burning quad muscles), and the view of the bay from the top is absolutely stunning: a great reward for making it to the top. After our descent, we would usually stop in at a café for a flat white and a date scone at Café Eighty Eight or Luca.
We were lucky enough to find an apartment in walking distance from the Mount, and even closer to the incredible Pizza Library. We loved first going through the menu of classic literature with suitable toppings, such as James and the Giant Peach, Treasure Island and Narnia. The fun vibe is set with outdoor seating creating by bus seats, and the till sitting on a piano, with servers in classic top-hats.
One surprise we found was the amazing produce at such bargain prices. We were amazed to get five huge locally grown, organic avocados for $3, or even local kiwifruit for 89 cents per Kg. We loved getting into the rhythm of healthy eating with locally grown produce, along with the motivating scenery to get outdoors and run or walk, helping us have a healthier lifestyle.
Sadly, the job relocated us back down south to Christchurch, however, we have completely been transformed by the lifestyle and relationships we made during our time in paradise.