While near Rotorua we took advantage of the opportunity to visit a Canadian friend who has married a Kiwi girl and now lives in this area. It was nice to be able to connect with someone we knew from a whole different context and see how they live and what they are up to here.
We met them after their work day and our Maori visit at their lovely home in Welcome Bay (gorgeous tidal estuary right in their backyard — they use it as an Airbnb property if interested) and then went for a hike up Mount Maunganoui, which was in a town about 15 minutes from their place, right along the beach.
The timing was perfect for the sunset and to see the amazing views from the top. It was a bit of a strenuous climb (at least for my mom!) but we were inspired by the dozens of people literally running both up and down the mountain.
After our hike down… which was better than the hike up.. we went for some yummy burgers at a local restaurant. It was a great way to end a great day.