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