The family staying in our apartment left early so we had the place to ourselves for breakfast on the balcony. The weather again was superb - we’ve been incredibly lucky with the weather considering it is autumn in NZ. We headed off to Cathedral Cove which is just a short distance down the coast and near the Hot Water Beach. It is a popular walking spot. From the car park there is a good path along the cliff tops which gives excellent views over the lovely bays and many beautiful little islands along the coast. The walk passes through lush bushland. Our favourite sounding bird the Tui was calling loudly and beautifully. We descended steeply to Gemstone bay which a snorkelling route marked with buoys in part of the protected marine nature reserve. The water was crystal clear and cold but not chilling. I was rewarded with schools of large inquistive fish. The underwater plant life is also pretty but slightly dizzying as it sways with the current. Whilst I snorkelled Jen relaxed on the rocky shore. It was a lovely experience. The warm sun soon wamed me up and we headed for the Cathedral Cove itself. The main feature
is a massive arch that you can walk through. The beach here is wide and sandy (though not safe to swim). We relaxed on the beach for an hour (Jen actually fell asleep in the sun). The stroll back - mostly uphill was not too arduous and very enjoyable. Jen walked further along the cliff top into the little settlement of Hahei whilst I drove the car down the hill into town. As we left I’d intended filling up with petrol at the garage there but it had closed at lunchtime so I had a bit of a nerve wracking drive back with the petrol light on but we made it back to Whitianga. Back at the apartment we were joined by a likeable group of 3 English women who had teamed up only recently to travel together. They were a friendly bunch and good company for the evening.