To Whitianga - Coromandel
We toured Tauranga and Mount Maunganui before leaving. We’d been wrong to judge them on our brief view of the previous day. The cafÃ© lined front at Tauranga is lovely and the beach running south from Mount Maunganui is beautiful. We had a deadline to meet so we had to leave but it would have been nice to dally. The intention was to reach the ‘Hot Water Beach’ on the Coromandel Peninsular. The hot water seeps up from a spot on the beach that is accessible one and a half hours either side of low tide which today was at 2:38pm. The journey took a bit longer than I expected. The road was more hilly and bendy than I anticipated and we got stuck behind slow quarry and logging trucks at times. We arrived at the beach at about 1:20pm. We hired a spade from the local cafÃ© and headed for the thermal spot 200m along the beach. Several people had already dug holes in the sand. The hot water wells up and you then relax in the warm water. The temperature varies amazingly within a few feet. In places the water is scalding. One particular stretch was especially hot
and it was amusing to watch unaware people start to walk across it barefoot. They soon retreated. A spade was essential because if you attempted with your hands it was far too hot. It is a bizarre place. If only there were such geothermal activity somewhere in Britain After an hour lazing in the hot pool Jen suddenly recognised the man who was dipping his feet in the pool we’d dug. It was the warden from our first hostel in NZ, the Christchurch Jailhouse Backpackers. He was on holiday with wife and children. We had a nice chat for a half an hour. After two hours we returned the hired spade and went for coffee at a lovely nearby cafÃ© called Hot Wave. We then headed for our hostel at Whitianga. It is a lovely hostel. We are staying in a double with in a block with shared facilities but none of the other rooms were occupied in our block so we had the kitchen and TV lounge to ourselves. We had delicious large mushrooms topped with blue cheese accompanied by new potatoes and peas. We washed it down with some sparkling wine. It was a very relaxing evening.
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