New Zealand – North Island series 3

Coromandel Peninsula 

Coromandel is only 55kms to the East of Auckland, so exploring Coromandel can be easily done in one weekend-get-away. It features numerous beautiful beaches, green rolling hills and fun walking tracks through temperate rain forest. The most famous attraction is Cathedral Cove and the most fun and bizarre one is Hot Water Beach.

The drive from Auckland, as usual, is very winding with many twists and turns. It offers awesome vantage points of the Peninsula.

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

Coromandel Peninsula

Cathedral Cove can be viewed by foot or by kayak. The later would offer exclusive access to hard-to-reach areas of the Cove. Regrettably, the weather didn’t permit us to do this.

To view Cathedral Cove by foot, ask the GPS to bring you to the end of Grange road at Hahei on Peninsula. Turn left at the end of the road and keep driving a short distance till you reach a car park. This car park has very limited parking spaces so try to avoid popular hours. From the car park, it is a short and easy track of 45 minutes going down to Cathedral Cove.

Cathedral Cove from the car park

Cathedral Cove viewed from the car park

It was gloomy when we got there which offers an unusual mysterious look of Cathedral Cove.

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

A small stretch of peaceful beach with soft sand, good for a quick picnic

A small stretch of peaceful beach with soft sand, good for a quick picnic

Leaving the peaceful Cathedral Cove, we headed to our next action packed destination – Hot Water Beach to dig up our personal hot pool on the beach!

Hot Water Beach is on Mercury bay. There are two hot springs running through a small stretch of the beach. Usually, the hot springs are covered by tide. But during low tide, these two fissures issuing water as hot as 64oC to the beach surface.

Steps to a personal spa pool and bizarre fun:

– It’s important to time your arrival to be within 2 hours on either side of a low tide (tide timing is here).

– Rent a spade at nearby coffee house at $5 and get a cold beer there as well.

– Feel with your feet to find a spot with warmer sand. It can get frustrated to see others already settle in their pools and you are not.

– Dig crazily. Be careful, the water can get scalping hot when you dig. Just mix it with cold sea water. Some seasoned goers bring their pails with them, borrow their pails.

– Enjoy your beer and natural spa. The thermal water is rich with minerals.

Hot Water Beach craze

Hot Water Beach craze

On the way back to Auckland, drive along Thames coast to enjoy its breath-taking scenes. Thames is a very cute little seaside town which is a great spot for lunch.

Beautiful beach along Thames coast highway

Beautiful beach along Thames coast highway

… to be continued…

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