Along with 90% of the New Zealand population, I migrated to the beach with some friends following the Christmas holidays. After putting in some quality time lounging and beer-drinking, we decided to do something slightly more productive: climb nearby Mount Maunganui, an extinct volcano that looms over the small coastal town.
My friends – all Kiwis – assured me it was not a difficult hike and even insisted that jandals (Kiwi word for flip-flops) were perfectly appropriate footwear for the occasion. Nevertheless, I decided to wear actual shoes and I’m glad I did; it was a steeper climb than I imagined, and I was grateful for the extra traction. I shouldn’t be surprised- this is a country in which wearing shoes at all is optional.
Upon reaching the summit, the view took my breath away (although looking back, it was probably just the hike up). After snapping a few pictures to prove we made it to the top, we began our descent back to the beach for a well-earned nap in the sunshine.