We had visited Rotorua a few years back but had never ventured as far afield as Tauranga on the coast. This area has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and is a magnet for people migrating from Auckland seeking a better affordable lifestyle. There is also a lot of retirees moving there to enjoy the areas laid back ‘resort’ lifestyle. We were quite excited to spend a few days here and discover its attractions.
Our Accommodation – not accessible but we adapted
We stayed about twenty minutes along the coast from Mount Maunganui at the popular Papamoa Beach Resort. This was a wonderful and practical location for us travelling with three young children. The Resort was busy and booked up including their two wheelchair accessible cabins overlooking the beach. We booked into one of their last units, a cute two-bedroom garden villa that was adjacent to the children’s playground. Although the villa was not wheelchair accessible we managed to adapt.
“Adapting is something we have had to get used to doing on many of our travels”
We had to lift our son into the villa as it had three steps. Luckily, the entry in was lip-free through a ranch sliding door. Inside was an easy access open shower to manage him in. The shower was not classified as a full wet-floor shower but did provide lip-free access through a wide glass door. It also had the added bonus of two shower heads on either side. There was enough room to use our sons ‘Hippocampe’ all-terrain wheelchair for showering. This bit of equipment proves to be very versatile for us and being waterproof is an added bonus. It is excellent for accessing beaches and folds away easily into a bag for travelling. Its titanium frame makes it lightweight for lifting in and out of vehicles.
The Resort itself is next door to the Blue BiYou Restaurant – well known for its fresh seafood. It has stunning views overlooking the beach with easy access and car parking out front. There is also plenty of takeaway places across the road to choose from. My favourite start to the day was the barrister coffee window by the shops. It opens early with plenty of locals lining up for their morning coffee fix. We also frequented the well-stocked bakery on the corner. On the same row of shops was a good dairy to stock up on essentials.
Unfortunately, the beach access from the Resort is not wheelchair accessible. We found road access down to the beach next door to the Blue BiYou Restaurant. it is possible to park down there to make life even easier.
The resort has two accessible beachfront villas that can accommodate up to 5 guests in each. These are always popular and often booked out in advance during peak season. During our stay, we were unable to have a look through but we did manage to take a few photographs from the outside.
Accommodation and Things to do in the area!
- Mount Maunganui, commonly known by locals as The Mount
- Mount Hot Pools, we give this 5 Stars for accessibility!
- Tauranga City, down by The Harbour
- McLaren Falls Park, a 10-minute drive out of Tauranga City