We went to Tauranga in September, like many Aucklander's have been doing lately to see what it was like down there and contemplate whether we wanted to move there. The trip was planned around Mums birthday, and a chance to see how George and Maisy (Mums dog) would cope on a mini vacation together. Surprisingly well, as it turns out. Although George likes to pretend he's not a big fan of Maisy (she is a typical puppy after all), he's a bit too mature for her antics, he pined for her when they were separated.
I'd planned a few walks to explore, along with just ticky touring around the area. It had been a while since Mum or I had been there. I dunno what it is about our trips away, but the weather never seems to be doing what it should! That weekend there was a big storm crossing the country, and it was looking to hit Tauranga for the entire weekend. Typical!
Day one we ventured off around 9am from Auckland, but first stopping at Craigavon in Blockhouse Bay to let the dogs get a bit of energy out of their system before being stuck together in the car for a few hours.
After a quick run around the park, we were off. Heading to Karangahake Gorge to show Mum and Maisy the 'Crown Track' that George and I had done before. Only to discover the walk was shut off due to rockfall. Instead we ventured off in the opposite direction, you can see details of the Gorge in 'North Island Adventures'.
With the dogs sufficiently tired for the journey ahead, we made our way to Tauranga. Our accommodation was located in Mount Maunganui, and well positioned to head off in any direction. A quick settle into the accommodation and we put the dogs on lead and headed up the road to have a nosey around the area. Just a short walk to the beach, although unfortunately dogs weren't allowed.
We jumped in the car and headed into Mount Maunganui looking for a bite to eat. We found one at a local burger restaurant, sitting outside enjoying the view of the waterfront and the dogs were spoiled with their own serving of bacon. The weather was good, so we took a stroll around the local streets before returning to the car. Totally oblivious to the signs saying 'No Dogs', we had just walked the waterfront looking towards the port, only to see at the last minute before we got back to the car that dogs weren't allowed here, even on a lead. Whoops! The photos of the waterfront ive included are the area that is marked No Dogs, so don't make the same mistake we did!
Up bright and early in an attempt to get the main walk done before the bad weather was due to set in, we were out the door by 7am heading to the TECT All Terrain Park. Being that early in the morning, the place was pretty deserted. There is minimal signposting to the dog area, so if you're unsure, head to the Mountain Bike park, its pretty much at the end of the very long road. We were the only ones out there, so let the dogs out of the car to explore while we put on every possible layer of waterproof clothing we could, and set off down the hill to explore the designated dog area.
Its said to be one hectare, but based on what we could see of what was clearly marked as the fenced dog area, it seemed a lot smaller. For George and I who are used to walks that take around an hour or more, this was too small for us. Perhaps we missed something?! It is fenced, but the fencing is wire with big holes, so any small escape artists like little Maisy will still need to be kept on a lead. Because the place was deserted, and the rain hadn't quite set in, we decided to walk some of the road around the park to give them a longer walk. Just as we were about to turn around to return to the car, the heavens opened and we got absolutely drenched. Thankfully a bit of forethought, we had got a change of clothes with us, so got the dogs dry, got changed and jumped back in the car to head off looking for a spot for some morning tea.
Heres the website for the TECT Park: http://www.tectallterrainpark.co.nz/
There is toilet located at the Mountain Bike area, it is a long drop but a fairly civilised one!
Rather than going back the way we had already come, we took the scenic route via Te Ranga and Te Puke to get to Papamoa. I'd found a cafe called Gana Cafe that had outdoor seating, so knew we could have the dogs there while we enjoyed a coffee. But there's that rain again, so by the time we got there and saw the wind howling and the rain coming in sideways, we decided to grab our food and coffee to takeaway. The dogs thought that was a great idea, nothing better than being in the confined space of the car with two dogs and food crumbs.
We spent the rest of the afternoon touring around the area, just having a nosey at the new housing developments and trying to avoid the worst of the rain. After a short return to the accommodation, we decided we would do one more walk and grab some dinner while we were out. A quick Google search and I found Yatton Park. A short drive into Tauranga, we found it off Fraser Street. Parking is a little difficult here, and the main gates were about to be shut, so we parked down a side street (Harrier Street) and entered the park there. It's not a big park, but there is a pathway that runs the whole length, and also down the far end of the park, away from the road you can do a little exploring on some extra trails. Looking at the map it looks like some of the trails go a far distance, but it was getting dark and we couldn't stay for much longer. It was a good final walk and made the dogs suitably sleepy to let us relax for the evening.
Home time today, and another early start thanks to none of us being able to sleep for long in a strange bed! Although it was super comfortable, so don't let that put you off staying here - you can see where we stayed on the Accommodation page.
I'd found a dog park called Huhurua Park, located on Plummers Point Road which looked to have fantastic views over the water, and seemed like the perfect place to start our first walk. There is good parking here, we saw a few fellow dog owners there at that early time in the morning. There is a pathway that runs down the hill, and a wide expanse of open grass to run around on. I've included the map in the photos, as you can see there are restricted areas within the park that dogs are not allowed, or need to be on-lead for. The pathway is a short walk, but if you had a ball or a couple of dogs, then the wide expanse of grass would have given them enough exercise. We put the dogs on lead and walked down Plummers Point Road for a bit, before heading back to the car.
Back home we headed, and id earmarked a walk in Maramarua Forest to do on the way home. However both dogs were suitably sleepy, and the weather wasn't doing us any favours, so we decided to just keep heading home.
TECT All Terrain Park
For other areas to walk in the area, check out this page: http://www.westernbay.govt.nz/our-services/animal-services/dog-walking-parks/Pages/default.aspx