Mount Manganui is a small town at the base of the extinct volcano Mauao that sits at the end of a long sandy peninsula. With it's distinctive shape, it rises above the sea and shoreline and is visible for miles. It has wonderful beaches that are relatively uncrowded and the sidewalk cafes are busy places.
We used Gold Passes for the bus - sometimes it pays to be gray haired! So between 9 am and 3 pm, we can ride free around Tauranga. We picked up the No.1 bus a few yards down from the house, changed to a different one in Greerton and got down to the beach in about 30+ minutes. The bus dropped us directly at The Mount.
By this time, I was starving so we decided to have some breakfast at one of the little sidewalk cafes. And it was then that I realized how expensive things are here. Breakfast for two - bacon, eggs and coffee - get this - $40NZ which is $37 US. It was a good breakfast - but not THAT good! And gas is more than double what I paid in California before I left! I can only assume that salaries are high because most of the people at the cafe appeared to be local, not tourists. The minimum adult wage here is $13.75 NZ ($12.63 US at the current exchange rate) so right there is an indication of what salaries are,
Anyway, that took care of any desires to eat out in the near future.
The beaches are amazing but the water was chilly. Some really good waves and quite a lot of people out surfing. There was a lot of seaweed washed up on shore in places, but very little trash, a good thing. We walked out to Moturiki, a small island that used to be a quarry up until the 60s or so and climbed up to the top where the views are spectacular. It was crystal clear today and the paragliders were have a grand old time flying down from Mauao.
Catching the bus home was easy but it took longer as it seemed we stopped at just about every bus stop. But free is good and we weren't in a rush. It's interesting to see all the small stores lining the streets - dress shops, lots of takeaways (take out joints) especially curry and fish and chips, small businesses from electricians to dressmakers and everything in between. There are big shopping centers too, but no Walmart down here in this town.
Tonight is a braai night - South African barbecue - here at the house so off I go to make potato salad to go with the rest of the goodies.