A Mountain to Climb – Te Aroha

On Mt Te ArohaAfter doing some motorhome things in Pukekohe and some catching up on the way through Auckland; we headed for the Bay of Plenty. We realised that this gave us a chance for a walk up Mt Te Aroha which overlooks the town of Te Aroha. Mt Te Aroha also overlooks a lot of the middle part of the North Island. We’d seen it in passing several times and it looked like a long way up. It wouldn’t be a proper mountain if it wasn’t. When we arrived in Te Aroha the mountain was swathed in mist, as a proper mountain should be.

Te Aroha is an interesting town, foundered on gold and hot pools. The gold ran out but left some impressive buildings. The hot pools didn’t run out and still attract people today.

Grand Hotel Te Aroha

The Grand Hotel at Te Aroha is very grand

Old building Te Aroha

Old building Te Aroha – a lovely left-over

We were up relatively early the next morning and began the climb at the Te Aroha Domain where the mineral spas are. The track started up, and kept on up. The zig-zags made it easier for the first part up to the Whakapipi Lookout which is also knows as Bald Spur which is anything but bald.

Beginning of track to Mt Te Aroha

Beginning of track to Mt Te Aroha

Lower part of Mt Te Aroha track

Lower part of Mt Te Aroha track

Lower part of Mt Te Aroha track

Lower part of Mt Te Aroha track

View from Whakapipi Lookout Mt Te Aroha

View from Whakapipi Lookout Mt Te Aroha. Te Aroha below and Mt Pirongia in the distance

From the lookout the track carried on up, only straighter up. Instead of zig-zagging it mostly followed a ridge, upwards.

Vegetation on Mt Te Aroha track

Vegetation on Mt Te Aroha track

Upper part of Mt Te Aroha track

Upper part of Mt Te Aroha track

Upper part of Mt Te Aroha track

Upper part of Mt Te Aroha track

The upper part of the track was quite a scramble in places, with lots of pulling up on tree roots. Finally though we broke out of the forest to find that we were on the top. We shared this with a dozen other walkers and an enormous communication tower.

Tower at top of Mt Te Aroha

Tower at top of Mt Te Aroha; Mt Pirongia in the distance – the only peak higher than Mt Te Aroha for a long long way.

Bay of Plenty from the top of Mt Te Aroha

Bay of Plenty from the top of Mt Te Aroha looking over the Kaimai Range; Mt Maunganui is the lump on the left with the Port of Tauranga sunlit to the right of that. Whale Island is in the far distance, off Whakatane.

Waihi seen from Mt Te Aroha

Waihi in the middle distance, seen from Mt Te Aroha

Summit of Mt Te Aroha

We were quite pleased with ourselves and were happy to pose on the summit of Mt Te Aroha

Panorama from Mt Te Aroha

Panorama from Mt Te Aroha; Pirongia beyond the tower, the Firth of Thames and the Hunua Range in the middle and Waihi on the left. [Click on the photo to see a wider view.]

It is an extraordinary vantage point at 952m. There is nothing higher to the north, and only Mt Pirongia to the west is higher, and not by much. Mt Ruapehu to the south was a bit obscured, but we could see the white cone of Mt Taranaki far to the south-west.

Eventually we finished our lunch and sightseeing and headed back down. Parts were a bit slippery and it still took a while descending.

Scrambling down the Mt Te Aroha track

Scrambling down the Mt Te Aroha track

Te Aroha town from Whakapipi Lookout on Mt Te Aroha

Te Aroha town from Whakapipi Lookout on Mt Te Aroha

Te Aroha town from Whakapipi Lookout on Mt Te Aroha

Te Aroha town from Whakapipi Lookout on Mt Te Aroha – looking north to the Firth of Thames and the Hunua Ranges

Even the lower zig-zags seemed an effort on the way down. But down we went and finally reached the bottom. We wasted little time in retrieving our swimming attire and getting ourselves to the hot pools for a lovely soak. It’s a great combination, to be encouraged anywhere. We were treated to a lovely sunset to finish our day.

Sunset at Te Aroha

Sunset at Te Aroha

Although what really finished our day perfectly was fish and chips from PJs Takeaways, as recommended by one of the pool lifeguards. Very good takeaways after a nice soak in hot pools after a day of adventure  up a mountain; does life need to get better than this?

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4 Responses to A Mountain to Climb – Te Aroha

  1. Jan says:

    Mike and I did the exact same walk and Hot Pools many years ago. We did it as part of our training for the Milford Track.

  2. gay dornbusch says:

    We went there a few times but didn’t know they had hot pools and I can’t say I remember a mountain. I guess we were in too much of a hurry. You see so much and take such beautiful pics and once again thank you for sharing

    • Ross says:

      Crikey you must have been in a bit of a rush 🙂 Although the hot pools are tucked away at the back of the domain. Wyn tends to get us started at the local i-SITE and there is a cute one at Te Aroha. Plus we have a couple of guide books which we remember to check every now and then.

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