Over New Years I had four days off and was meant to be spending it on Great Barrier Island. Sadly that fell through, so I ended up road tripping with my friend to Tauranga and Mt Maunganui instead.
My friend wanted to go to Bay Dreams but I was pretty strapped for cash, so while she was there for the day I had a couple of mini-adventures.
The first one was to the Omanawa Falls, which were about 25 minutes out of Tauranga. There are quite a few falls around there, easily accessible in the Kaimai Ranges which get a lot of rainfall. After a bit of Googling and Instagram searching I found that the Omanawa Falls were the most striking. New Zealand Waterfalls was a really handy site (for obvious reasons!) and helped me get to Omanawa Falls when Google took me to the opposite side.
On my way down I met a couple of groups who warned me about getting down to the waterfall, it seemed like it wasn't very easy to do at all, and I can see why the council has closed it to the public. That doesn't stop people though, and I was quite keen to take a look. I didn't end up making it down to the bottom for a few reasons; I was alone wearing jandals and carrying my camera in a plastic bag, it was incredibly wet and slippery, I couldn't see the way down at all and it was creepy as fark. One day I'll go back and get to the bottom because it's absolutely stunning and I don't like to step down from a challenge.
Silly me, I only took photos of the waterfall, none of the creepy old shed and the broken doors around the place, but they gave it the eeriest feeling. Apparently it's actually the site of the Southern Hemisphere's first underground hydro-electric power station which turned 100 in just over a year ago! I pride myself on my cool facts, there's plenty more where that came from ;)
On the way back up I saw a majestic deer, majestically looking down upon myself, a lowly, unmajestic human. Then I headed back through the misty Kaimai's to Mt Maunganui. Night started to fall as I ascended, and my low-light photography isn't great so I don't have many photos, but it's not hard to imagine what it would be even more stunning with a bit of blue sky!
The night ended with me runwalking down the hill and getting absolutely soaking wet, taking refuge in Mexicali Fresh before picking up my sodden friends from Bay Dreams. Loved every minute of it!
Have you been to Mt Maunganui before?