Friday, 30 March 2012


The sun was out and this could mean only one thing - we had some driving to do! We waved goodbye to the glow worms and drove the 4 hours to the Coromandel peninsula. And when we arrived - it was still sunny! 

Our first destination was Waihi Beach, a small town on the southeastern side. The town had a working goldmine up until about 3 years ago but now relies on tourism and farming to support the residents that remain. We drove along the causeway to Bowentown parked up and found the biggest hill we could to climb up.  The views of Shelly Beach and Anzac Bay  from the top were pretty nice! 

Pretty Nice
From the other side of the hill we could see all the way along the beach back to Waihi (where the beach hit a headland and stops)

The other side
We headed back down the hill (downhill in flip flops hurts btw!) and onto the beach, just as about a hundred school kids rocked up to take it over! So we drove to the campsite and about 20 meters from the van had our own stretch of beautiful quiet beach.

The next morning the view from our bedroom window was pretty good too!

So good I had to get up and outside! 

As the sun came up a large weather front was just clearing.

And as it cleared the sun was shining - that's 3 days in a row now!

From Waihi, we traveled northwards deeper into the Coromandel and found Oputere Reserve, 'world famous' for its rare bird, the Dotterel. We didn't see one.

Spot the Dotterel
But we did find an amazing beach with no one else in sight just 30 minutes walk through the bush!

Seems like a few other people had heard how nice Oputere Beach was too as on our way back to the car park we passed loads of people. Heading further north we found a good looking hill, Mount Paku. At the top we could see for miles over the town of Pauani.

We reached Hahei by early afternoon and walked the 2 hour return trip up and down numerous cliffs to Cathedral Cove. It was a hot day and the walk was hard work, but it was really worth it!

Cathedral Cove

Not too shabby

Not a cloud in the sky
And as if the hike wasn't long enough already, we found a couple of extra tracks down to totally secluded bays with white sands and crystal clear (but cold) water.

Hot Water Beach was our stop for the night, and as its name suggests it is a beach with hot water.  For an hour either side of low time, geothermal water is accessible on a small section of beach - all you need is a spade and a little bit of hard work to make your own hot tub.

I could have done with a bigger spade! 

Guess the owners!
And relax

The water was so hot it burned your bottom in places!

Our last day in Coromandel began with yet more sunshine as we drove to Whitianga through the Coromandel Forest Park.  Whitianga is a fair size town (for New Zealand) with loads of cafes and fishing shops, and also serves NZs second best ice cream; Kapiti (Patagonia in Queenstown wins hands down!)


And the sun kept shining as drove to Matarangi on to Coromandel Town. We had a quick stop for a late lunch and a potter around the town centre before heading off along the Firth of Thames, on what has to be one of the slowest 50km of driving we have done! The road literally follows the edge of the firth so it was twistier than a game of Twister. Nice though!

The view across the Firth of Thames towards Auckland.

Its a shell

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