We had booked our stay in Mt Maunganui months before, so the weather wasn’t going to influence our decision to go on this trip. We set off into the rain on Monday 25 July 2022. Benny, Lydia, and the children were already on the road.

We took the route via Paeroa, the home of L&P.

We had booked our accommodation with Marram, which we have always found to be pretty decent and within our budget. Once again we found the unit tidy and well equipped with all that we would need for a comfortable stay.

As soon as the grandchildren entered the unit, the atmosphere changed to distilled sweetness.

As it was pouring outside, and cold, we spent the rest of the afternoon indoors. That evening Benny and Lydia bought takeaways (some Thai food and Burger Fuel) for everyone.

We woke up to an astonishingly sunny Tuesday, which was perfected by the smells emanating from the kitchen; Benny was making a proper breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs, and sausages with toast. We would do everything on our Mt-Mauganui list today.

Our first stop was Classic Flyers Aviation Museum. As aviation museums go, this was quite small, considering that our last one had been the Museum of Flight in Seattle! But this one was extremely toddler friendly. The high point of the visit for me was when Micah spontaneously thanked the store lady and she acknowledged it warmly. Micah went on to thoroughly enjoy the museum, and I suspect that his father did too.

On his way out, Micah was given a small paper cup, full of aircraft-shaped lollies, which would have cemented his love for the place.

Aircraft-shaped lollies

Our next stop was the park with the Hairy-Maclary statues.

Next, a wrong turn took us serendipitously to the Mt Maunganui Cenotaph area where we climbed a little hill for a grand view of the sea.

Back at the unit, it was time for lunch. In fact, it was past lunch time. In recent months, Philip seems to have acquired a new hobby—cooking—and we had brought two dishes that he made just before we left Auckland. And so at this time, we took out the Coriander-and-Cumin chicken curry, which we had with chapatis.

The children rested and played and played and rested. Jirah loves the jolly jumper, which gives her a good vantage point to observe her hero Micah who is engaging in several activities at once, punctuated regularly by running across the room back and forth for a few minutes at a time.

In the evening we went to Mount Hot Pools at the foot of the mountain. Their website claims that it is the “only hot ocean water complex in the world!”

We returned to the unit for dinner; it was time for Philip’s beef dish, which we had with noodles.

I was determined to get a picture of the family prayer tonight, as watching Benny lead his family in the night prayers is a joy.

Wednesday morning was nowhere as sunny as Tuesday had been. A relaxed fish-and-chips lunch followed a relaxed morning.

And then it was time for our grandchildren and their parents to head back to Auckland.

Philip and I enjoyed a quiet evening reading.

Thursday morning was check-out day. The view of Mt Mauganui from the street in front of the units is beautiful.

We went to Bethlehem on our way out of Tauranga. If all it takes is thrice for something to become a tradition, then visiting the Garden Stop store is a tradition now.

After a quick visit to a Salvation Army Family Store, which is always fun, we went to Patrick’s Pies to get some pies for lunch. This place is quite well-known because they seem to win all the pie awards.

And then we made our way home to Auckland.