The jewel in Tauranga's crown is once again open to the public as New Zealand moves into alert level 2.
Tauranga City Council says the reopening of Mauao comes with new guidelines. The popular attraction has been closed since level 4 lockdown to all visitors.
"It was like a three-hour therapy session," was how local Julia Dickinson described her first trip up Mauao today. The public is advised to keep clear from others by about 2m, give way on narrow sections of the track, avoid passing others and to not stop mid-track and talk to others.
The extra measures are in place because the council classes Mauao as a "Covid-19 high-risk area" due to its popularity and problems around safe physical distancing plus an inability to contact trace all visitors.
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But people were not put off today. "We were surprised this morning to find hardly any people on the mountain. It's been an easy walk with no obstructions and people are able to walk past without wondering about each other's air space," said local Brian Day.
"It's only 10 minutes from home and you just go up and you've got the most amazing view at the top. What more do you need?" said Nadia Mohammed.
Anthony de Villiers added, "It's not so much the views, it's the general sensation of the rhythm and beauty of the Mount as one who's enjoyed it for many years. And to re-establish that link is important to me."
However, some are still too concerned about the risks to get their Mauao fix just yet.
"I probably wouldn't go up because you can't keep the distance the same but going around the bottom felt fine," said Debbie Horwood.
"It was lovely. We thought it might be less busy today because people don't know that it's open yet. When the sea is so big and exciting it's nice. It's a beautiful walk."
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