This week, we've started to experience slightly more 'New Zealand-y' weather - we've had a couple of mornings spent hiding inside, waiting for the rain to let up so that we can go out exploring...I (Hazel) can confirm that my new cagoul works just fine though!!
On Wednesday morning, after a one-night stop-over in Auckland, we hopped back onto the Magic bus at 7am and arrived at Thames, at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, around 9:30am. We had booked a connection bus with Go-Kiwi that afternoon and a nights accomodation to give us a day and a half in Thames, after over-estimating the excitment of the town. After three hours we realised our mistake and re-arranged our plans to spend an extra day on the Coromandel! The driver of the Go-Kiwi shuttle was really helpful and dropped us off outside our hostel in Whitianga (pronounced "Fitty-anga").
Our hostel, Turtle Cove ("Turtle Head Cove", according to Mark), was really nice - it was the first place we have stayed so far where breakfast has been included and they also let us borrow spades which came in handy for hot water beach. It did feel a bit like camping though
Hot Water Beach
- our room was a cabin out in the garden, so if you needed the loo in the night you had to scamper across the garden (and it wasn't exactly warm at night!)
The main reason we came to the Coromandel really, apart from allowing me a last bit of beach time for a while, was to go to Hot Water Beach. You have to go to Hot Water Beach in the period 2 hours either side of low tide, and then you can access the thermal springs that are under the sand. On Thursday, we took a quick (2 minute!) ferry from Whitianga across to the imaginatively named Ferry Landing, then a shuttle to hot water beach. I dug a fair few test holes with no joy before we gave in and got some advice from the locals on how to find the hot spots. As soon as we found one we started to dig and the water was so hot you couldn't even stand in it - you needed sea water to cool it down! Mark would like me to add that lying in one of the dug out sand hot tubs put you at risk of
Mark NOT "cooking his goose" at Hot Water Beach
"cooking your goose" if you weren't careful.
On Friday, we used our extra day on the Coromandel to go to Cathedral Cove. This is a really pretty beach, again across from Whitianga on the ferry. You get to the beach by walking for about half an hour along this track through the trees - apparently the claim to fame for the area is that it was in one of the Narnia films, but they're probably better off keeping that to themselves! The draw for us was this fantastic rock arch, which you had to wade under in order to get to the beach - Mark did a much better job of scampering through without getting wet, whereas I was just celebrating making it through when the backsplash from a wave hitting rocks got me square on the bum! The beach was stunning though, and we spent a nice lazy afternoon there having a picnic in the sun. Life is pretty tough right now.
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