Today is a short travel day – we are leaving Hahei in the Coromandel and driving to Mt. Maunganui. Right out of town we stopped at Cathedral Cove Macadamias. Our first time seeing a macadamia tree, we learned about the challenge of growing and harvesting them in New Zealand. They have a small stand on the farm selling their various products. We bought some of their nut coatings for gifts and ourselves – Macadamia Dukkah, Lemon Kelp Sprinkle, and Chili Kelp Sprinkle. And for breakfast a jar of Macadamia spread. It felt good to support a local farmer.
Around noon we stopped in Whangamata for lunch and chose the Cafe Rossini because the lunch special sounded good and they had wi-fi. The day’s special was a Thai steak salad, which we shared, a tasty spicy marinated steak on fresh salad greens.
Back on the road we soon arrived in Tauranga and checked into our hotel, across the street from Mt. Maunganui. This formerly volcanic mountain rises over 700 feet next to a beautiful white sand beach. The area is filled with cafes and we enjoyed some gelato during the afternoon heat before walking around the base of the mountain – the “easy” walk. The steep hike to the summit we would save until morning. Walking around the base we noticed that sheep were grazing on areas of the mountain. Jay had commented earlier on the practicality of the New Zealanders – and here was a perfect example – a mountain in an urban setting shared by locals, tourists and sheep.
Looking for a break from rich food we stumbled upon Zeytin Cafe, a bustling Mediterranean café on The Strand serving very reasonably priced good food and generous portions. The next day we returned for a carry out lunch to take with us on our road trip to Napier.