Published: May 5th 2011April 3rd 2011
After leaving Whangamata we went to Opoutere beach for a walk. It is alongside an estuary and nature reserve but the beach itself was rather windswept. We were planning on walking along the beach and then back by the estuary but the tide was too high and we couldn’t get across the inlet to walk by the estuary.
We got back to the van and headed towards Cooks beach. This is close to Hot water beach and the cathedral cove walkway which we wanted to but we first headed down to Maramaratotara bay. It was surprisingly rough and whilst sitting on the beach watching the waves, we nearly got drenched by a rogue wave. Mark managed to get out the way but I dropped my sandal on the floor and had to try and get it before it got swept away!! Whilst trying to wash my feet of the sand they got covered in I got hit by another wave so was now wet to my waist!! We decided to move on to Cooks beach as there wasn’t much sand left on Maramaratotara bay by that point!
The waves at Cooks beach weren’t as large and it was
still hot and sunny so I sunbathed on the sand and Mark fished. We did have to move further up the beach as the tide was still coming in and I nearly got soaked again!! We stayed at a very posh campsite near the beach which had brand new facilities and a pool. Having been in the sun all day I went for a dip in what was a really cold pool, then had a shower to warm up again!!
The next morning we went to do the Cathedral Cove Walkway. It was really hot that day and the last part of the walk was being reconstructed so it was a clamber down the side of the hill holding onto a rope rather than walking down a set of steps. The cathedral cove itself was sealed off and you couldn’t walk through it but could still get the scale of the shape and the idea of the cathedral. We tried to get down to one of the other bays on the way but due to the recent rain the mud was really slippery and the slope quite steep so we decided it wasn’t worth a slip and headed back
to the van. We were going to go dig ourselves a hot pool on Hot water beach but as you can only do that and the cathedral cove walk at low tide we didn’t have enough of a time window to do both.
As we headed further up the coast of the peninsular and turned off the main road onto a gravel road to go to two beaches that were said to be more or less unspoilt. The first, Otama beach, was just miles of golden sand and blue waters with no one else around. We headed on to the next beach, Opito beach, which was more miles of golden beach but didn’t have the same feel of Otama beach so we headed back there for the afternoon. We parked up in what appeared to be someone’s field and then headed down the pathway to the beach. Mark decided to fish whilst I went for the very relaxed approach of sunbathing!! Mark was just about to give up fishing as he hadn’t had a bite but decided to throw one more piece of bait out and got a bite - it was a lovely sized snapper!! Only problem was
it was nearly dark and we didn’t know where we were going to stay for the night or to cook the fish!! Finally we found one about 7kms away and cooked a beautifully fresh snapper for dinner!!
We headed off in the morning to find some more beaches and went to a resort place called Matarangi. We were expecting a lovely long beach with lots of shops but found a rather weird housing estate with only a few areas of access to the beach. We walked over to it and we both preferred Otama beach that we’d been on the day before!! So we didn’t stay long and drove on to Coromandel town to stock up on things before heading out on Port Jackson road - yet another gravel road - to go to the top of the peninsular. There were a few DOC sites out on this road and just before we reached the first one Mark saw a flock of sea birds diving for bait fish so we pulled over and he threw a line out. After about 3 minutes he’d caught a big Kahawai. Its otherwise known as a sea trout and is only found around
Australia and New Zealand. After about another 10 minutes we had another Kahawai caught!! We called it a day and headed further round the coast to the first campsite. We decided to do a bit more fishing off the rocks and Mark caught another big Kahawai and I caught a large one but didn’t land it as it came in close to the rocks the line snapped and I lost the fish and my lure!! The next and furthest campsite on this road was only another 15kms away so we headed up there to have lunch and relax for the afternoon. Mark continued to fish on the beach but didn’t catch any on this beach. The following day we headed back along Port Jackson road and stopped off at Fantail bay again to see if we could catch some more fish!! There was another group that was already fishing the point so we had to go close but weren’t quite in the right spot. The other guys were catching on every cast but we hadn’t really had a bite. In the end the other guys gave us 5 Kawahai as they had caught all they wanted!! We ended up giving
two away as we didn’t have anywhere to keep them!! We were going to stay at Fantail and possibly fish the following day but decided against it as the camp manager annoyed me so we headed back towards Coromandel town. We didn’t get that far as we stopped at Amodeo bay to watch the sunset and there was a campsite there. We froze the last fish that we had as we had eaten fish for the last 3 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner!!
Next stop was Thames, so we drove through Coromandel town and down the west coast of the peninsular. There wasn’t a great deal in Thames as it is the main town of the peninsular. So we decided to head to Papamoa to stay for the night before we needed to be at Steve’s. We found the cheapest campsite around but wish we hadn’t. We put our stuff in the fridge but when we went to cook dinner a couple of hours later the food had been pinched from the fridge. The owners did give us cash to cover it but we didn’t really feel safe after that. We are heading to Steve’s tomorrow so will
be out of here tomorrow anyway.
There are more photos below