My family and I are into the final week of my dad and stepmum's month-long stay.

Like any good hostess, I won't let them languish at home or entertain themselves solely by combing nudist areas of Pāpāmoa Beach.

After eight years of living in the Bay, I can proudly tell the woman conducting a parking survey "Yes, I'm local." A local who knows how to show guests the best of our region.

Here are eight ways I wowed the folks. Maybe you've tried them, too.


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1) Take them to Downtown the Mount to the newly-opened Place of Circling Skateboards. The grey space provides ideal conditions to watch young tricksters hone their craft.

Bonus: A lack of shade means you can attain a melanoma glow without trying. Next month, we'll have dunk tanks where people can take aim at any Tauranga City Council member who green-lighted the $2.5 million project. Gold coin donations will go towards bringing back the statue of Mountie the Surfer.

2) Go to the beach: Visit Main Beach for the national volleyball champs, where their 13-year-old grandson will complain about nuts in his chocolate icecream waffle cone, leaving a puddle of brown stickiness on the ground for seagulls to slurp. After that, it's on to an undisclosed location at Pāpāmoa Beach for pipi harvesting. The secret is blown as four pairs of bums point skyward in shallow water as their owners dig in the sand like deranged dogs.

Bonus: Collect a skin insignia that appears like magic the next day. Spend hours scratching your feet until they bleed. You've just met the Mount Mauler. Red is the new black.

3) Take them fishing. We traded a half-day at sea for 20 minutes at Pak'nSave. Negotiations about filleted snapper versus whole resulted in the acquisition of an intact 2kg fish. At home, Grandpa sliced off the head and removed guts while Master 13 (sort of) helped. A dare to eat a raw eyeball ended in a score of Grandpa 1, Grandson, "bleh!" We're still traumatised. Mr Fish will never recover, though he was fleshy and moist after an egg and crumb bath, followed by pan-frying. It's satisfying to cook what you bought with your bare hands.

4) Enjoy a concert near one of your favourite pubs. Go early to get a good spot on the grass. Ask where all the people are and ponder why you're not allowed to visit the venue next door, which has better food, better beer, and no need to load money on to a plastic card you probably won't deplete. Flee the house with friends for concert #2, which has bigger crowds, bigger acts, and the same stupid plastic card system. But the weather was perfect and you got to shake your booty between bouts of itching your feet and ankles.

5) Join the crowd at an outdoor food festival, where you can feed the gang for about the same price as dining out. The music and atmosphere are nice, though your guests opt for a restaurant. Speaking of restaurants, try as many as possible, because our food rocks. Service, though, often does not. Enter a popular beach cafe for lunch with a sign on your forehead saying, "Wait an hour to bring us food/Not hungry/Just trying to look cool." An iconic bistro will later serve everyone in your group meals except Grandma, who waited 15 extra minutes for a plate of venison ravioli. By then, everyone else was done.


6) Tour the dump. It wouldn't be summer without the bicep-building exercise of hurling metal rods into a recycling bin like a javelin thrower and biffing 340kg of household flotsam and jetsam you shouldn't have collected in the first place.

Bonus: A nice Kiwi bloke backs your trailer after attempt #3 to do it yourself fails. Double bonus: Your tetanus vaccinations are up-to-date.

7) Visit Otanewainuku Forest for a waterfall walk. Spend the first 15 minutes in the carpark, watching, open-mouthed, as a dad tries to smash windows on his new car after locking his toddler inside. We presume it ended well, as the car was gone when we returned an hour-and-a-half later.

Bonus: Witness the slow-motion fall of your 72-year-old father as he slides down a short embankment of slippery clay. Thankfully, he's made of sturdy American stock and wasn't hurt.

8) Have them try luging in Rotorua for the first time. One turn on the scenic track sends the grandparents into the Stratosphere Restaurant & Bar to drink wine. Spend several hours fitting in three rides with your children, thanks to the brilliant idea to visit in the evening, when prices are cheaper and everyone else is there, too.

I do love summer in the Bay. I reckon no one does it quite like my family. Maybe I'll start a tour company - right after I scratch off the tops of my feet.