Three years ago, it was a rushed visit to the Coromandel. This time we had a lot more time to explore a bit more and really appreciate its beauty.
We rented a house in Hahei with the most stunning views and slept, with the windows open, listening to the waves crashing gently on the beach.
The walk to Cathedral Cove is one of the most popular activities nearby. But the description on TripAdvisor underplayed the steepness, up and down, of the path. My FitBit calculated that we walked the equivalent of 53 flights of stairs.
But we made it. Just! And it was worth it. Looking through the gigantic stone arch into Cathedral Cove was a classic view and very beautiful. The whole bay with blue sea and islands dotted around, drew regular gasps of appreciation from all of us.
Hot Water Beach
Then in the evening we went to Hot Water Beach. It was both magical and very surreal. The sun was just starting to set, and bathed the beach in a lovely soft light. Most of the beach was empty apart from a few hardy surfers. But then in one fairly small area there were about 80 to 100 people – strangers – all clustered together, digging holes in the sand!
Hot geothermal water flows just under the surface, from cliffs at the back of one part of the beach. In the right places, you can dig into the sand at low tide and easily fill a pool in the sand with either pleasantly warm, or scaldingly hot geothermal water.
Hot Water Beach
There is lots of laughter and community spirit as friends and strangers share the very surreal experience of very hot water running down a beach into the sea. One of life’s memorable moments. I loved it.
Once the sun had set, Paul preferred the absolutely awesome view of the Milky Way and Jupiter in the inky black sky.
For the first two weeks, Paul and I were very much in “touring holiday” mode. Today was all about moving to “family beach holiday” mode!
The sun shone and shone and sparkled on the water. Our rented beach house was right on the waters edge. We scrambled around the estuary at low tide – Amelia and Ben investigating rock pools. Then Paul, Belinda and the kids went off kayaking at high tide. I curled up in a warm corner with a book.
Suddenly sunglasses and sunscreen are essential. Hooray.
Apologies for the lack of posts.
We’re in Raglan with our New Zealand cousins and its been pretty hectic… canoeing, walking on the beach, meals out and catching up after 3 years.
Heading off to to the Coromandel today – about a 3 hour drive.
We’ve had a great day on the beach…
And what a beach! Huge rolling waves, clear blue water, golden/black sand – (the sand is volcanic hence black!) and perfect weather.
A lovely day.
A couple of notes of caution:
the currents are very strong but as I was only paddling in the shallow water, I wasn’t too affected 🙂
And there is more rain in the weather forecast but not today. We’ve been so lucky to have breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, and a glorious sunny day on the beach.
Oh and we did tear ourselves away to visit the Karekare waterfall… Our fourth waterfall of the holiday. This one was tall and cascading and quite majestic.
We spent the afternoon on a very powerful catamaran, with about 100 other people, exploring the Bay of Islands properly.
And yes, within 5 minutes we came across a family pod of about 25 bottlenose dolphins, including a four month old baby dolphin with its mum. It was as magical as it sounds. The dolphins were quite happy to swim and play around the boat for ages. Eventually we had to leave them, the dolphins themselves would have stayed by the boat for a lot longer.
Hole in the Rock
The Bay of Islands is just stunningly beautiful. Especially as the weather was perfect. Hundreds of rocky outcrop Islands of all sizes. The boat stopped for an hour at one of the bigger islands – Urupukapuka, and we scrambled up a hill to get the most fantastic views of Otehei Bay. The Bay was named by Captain Cook.
And yes very impressively this large boat did go through the Hole in the Rock. It took the skipper a while to be sure that the boat was lined up properly and sea conditions were okay. There were only a few feet spare on each side and quite a few rocky outcrops. But for quite a contrived manoeuvre it was surprisingly awesome.
Overall a lovely, lovely day.
Hole in the Rock
Heading back to Russell