Continuing to tour New Zealand

Beer of the moment : Steinlager ($20ish for 15 bottles)

Tuesday 1st March

First stop the next day was Cathedral Cove but on the way there we took a small de-tour to see Cooks Beach. Its a beautiful sheltered spot with gorgeous white sandy beaches and pretty views. The people that owned the houses that lined the beach must have an idyllic life here. It was so peaceful to wander the beach without anyone else being on it.

To the North of Hahei Beach is Cathedral Cove accessible at low tide through a gigantic arched cavern that separates it from Mares leg cove. It's a 45 minute or so walk from the car park along the magnificent cliffs down to the bay. It was a beautiful day and the views of the coastline were fantastic. It was a nice walk, a little steep in places but we all managed it and it was good to get the heart pumping. The coves at the bottom were incredibly pretty and we were amazed by the scale of the arched cavern. Dad was brave and took a dip in the sea which he thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of us had a cold and chickened out but it did look very refreshing. By the time we got back to the car we were feeling very refreshed from our exercise and pleased that we had come to the Coromandel to see such a beautiful spot.

Next stop was the South end of Hahei to visit the famous hot water beach. This is where thermal water bubbles just below the surface of the sand. People dig a hole two hours either side of low tide and sit in the warm water. We knew we wouldn't see it a low tide but wanted to take a look all the same. As we had a very interesting toasted sandwich for lunch (complete with things like banana and cranberry) the waitress pointed to the spot where everyone went. We expected it to be a wide area but it was just a small patch. Apparently it can get so hot you can burn your feet if you are not careful. The sea is also a bit wild here with lots of undercurrents so we gave it a miss and admired the view instead.

We had enjoyed our time in Coromandel and could have stayed longer. It has a beautiful coastline with an amazingly lush and tropical interior - definitely somewhere to come back to given its so close to Auckland.

Late afternoon we headed back towards Whangaparaoa. We managed to hit the rush hour traffic in Auckland but for once we weren't held up too long.

It was nice to see Bagpuss again having been away for 3 weeks. It seemed like we had been away longer though as we had seen so much. That night we cooked up bacon and mushroom pasts carbonara on the boat and had a chilled night reminiscing over our journey. 

Wednesday 2nd March

We thought we would have a fairly relaxing day so decided to head to Cheltenham Beach for a swim and lunch at a little restaurant we had spotted. Just as we were leaving Stephen and Karen from  Trade Secret arrived so we spent an hour or so chatting to them about our trip.

By the time we arrived at Cheltenham the restaurant was full - two coach loads arrived just as we did ! It was a real shame but we didn't fancy fighting 150 Chinese to the buffet table so we headed into Devonport to our favourite little cafe for a spot of lunch instead.

After lunch we headed up Mount Victoria, a volcanic cone to get a fantastic 360 degree view of Auckland and some of the islands. The view was stunning and we got some great photo's.

Then it was back to the beach which we could also see from Mount Victoria for a swim. Unfortunately the water was not as warm as last time - the currents must have been different but it didn't stop Dad venturing out. He had a great swim and said it was glorious once you were in. We took his word for it.

On our way back we stopped at the Marina bar for a quick beer and a basket of their fantastic potato wedges topped with sour cream. Bev managed to catch her handbag around the bar stool on the way to the table and dropped one of the glasses in the process ! All rather messy and embarrassing for Bev who is usually so careful.

Thursday 3rd March

Unfortunately it was Bev's Mum and Dad's last full day :(. Bev suggested we tried out the Waiwera Thermal Resort, a 45 minute or so drive North. It has several large thermal pools all naturally heated, ranging in temperature from warm to really hot. It was pretty quiet when we were there which was fantastic. It was so relaxing moving between the different pools - you could feel all your muscles chilling out. Apparently they replace about 80% of the water in the pools each day maintaining the constant temperature. The day was glorious as well so it was a nice way to relax and end our trip. We stayed a couple of hours or so, had a bite to eat and then headed a little further North to Warkworth, a pretty little town that was once connected to Auckland by steamship. Mum managed bought a beautiful wooden chopping board made out of Kauri and XXX wood from one of the craft shops. We stopped in Orewa on the way back to visit a lovely craft shop there where Mum bought a few more gifts. 

That evening we took a walk along the banks of the Marina to the small Gulf Harbour Centre where there's a bar and a couple of restaurants for a bite to eat at the XXXXX. Its a lovely spot where you can sit and admire the moored boats sitting alongside some expensive canal type housing.  It was nice being able to chill and a pleasant walk back to the boat.

Friday 4th March

All too soon Bill and Joyce Stratton's holiday had unfortunately come to an end - their New Zealand part anyway as they had a stop over in Singapore to look forward to. Their flight was early afternoon so we were up fairly early to make our way to the airport. It was really very sad to see them go especially as we knew it would be some time before we saw them again :( We'd had a great time and seen some fantastic things on our trip around New Zealand though so at least we had some great memories to cherish.


© Copyright Allan & Bev Dornan 2016