Day 175: The Coromandel Area, New Zealand

The Coromandel area in New Zealand is lovely.  We could have spent a week there and still not run out of things to explore!  Below are a few of our favorite not to miss areas.

First off, the windy, twisty long way up to the Coromandel (route 25 on the west side of the Peninsula).  The views are just stunning, if not a bit scary.  You don’t have to use this route to arrive into the Coromandel area, as there is a much easier, more direct route, but the views are worth it.

Gorgeous views overlooking Firth of Thames and Hauraki Gulf

The views are dotted with flowers, sheep, and bay views throughout.

Beautiful flowers and water views

We had a few cloudy moments, which made the scenery that much more spectacular!

Clouds and wind created spectacular vistas

Let’s move on to Cathedral Cove.  There are several ways to access Cathedral Cove.  You can hike into it, kayak to it while enjoying wildlife along the way, or, if short on time, you can catch a water taxi, which is what we did.  The water taxi is very easy to access.  Just park where you see the water taxi sign, and head right down to the beach.  The water taxi arrives every 30-40 minutes.  The “skipper” is friendly and fun, making sure everyone is safe and happy.

A little fun rock climbing for the kids

The ride over was very short, maybe ten minutes.  The day we went, the sky was blue and beautiful.  Right before we departed, however, it started to rain…well, pour is more like it.  The combination of wind and rain made for a very wet, very cold ride over.  Thankfully we had brought our rain jackets.

The water taxi will drop you off and you can return at any time, so if you want to just wander around for 45 minutes, you would catch the next ride back.  Or, you could arrive early in the day with a picnic lunch and depart a few hours later.  There are no facilities directly on Cathedral Cove, so keep that in mind.

Thankful for the short bout of rain, which cleared the beach for photos!

Within minutes of arriving, the sun decided to shine again, so we were able to capture some fantastic shots.  The two photos above are what we were treated to upon arrival.  It was just stunning.  The rock formations are enormous, the water clear and so blue.  It’s a lovely spot!  We enjoyed the area for about an hour before heading back.  We would have stayed much longer, had we not already had an appointment with Frodo and Samwise Gamgee.

And last but not least is Hot Water Beach!  I didn’t know anything about this destination until I began my research and am really glad we stumbled upon it.

Hot Water Beach well worth the trip

Hot Water Beach is located not too far from Whitianga, New Zealand.  Here, you can find hot springs filtering up through the sand during low tide.  Grab (or rent/borrow) a shovel and start digging your own private Jacuzzi tub.  As you do, the hot spring water (and I mean HOT), will start to surface.  If the water is lukewarm, move on to another location, because you have not truly found the spring.  You’ll know you’ve found it when you can barely touch the scalding hot sand and you see steam rising from beneath.

Photo courtesy of Ryan/Dad

In addition to a shovel, make sure to also bring a bucket.  We used ours to scoop cold water from the sea and add it to the scalding hot water, which made it possible for us to enjoy our “homemade” Jacuzzi.  It was a chilly night, so the warmth pouring over us was fantastic.  This is a not-to-miss NZ experience!

A few quick tips:

1.  Make sure to check low tide times, as you can only access Hot Water Beach 1-2 hours on either side of low tide.

2.  Bring a shovel and bucket.

3.  Come early if it’s summer-time.  This is a popular spot and fills up quickly.

4.  Be cautious, because the hot springs are so hot, you can actually get burned.

5.  Enjoy!

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