TRAVEL: CORAMANDEL PENINSULA, NZ
The first part of our 2015 adrenaline-packed trip to New Zealand took on a tamer form with a scenic drive up the North Island's beautiful Coromandel Peninsula.
And let's not forget the action packed day 1 in Auckland... five restaurants crammed into our eating schedule. What an accomplishment. Anyway, back to our visit to the Coromandel region:
Day 2: Auckland to Coromandel
Stop over in Thames to check into accommodation
Hot Water Beach
Aptly named The Treehouse Bed and Breakfast, our gorgeous Airbnb accommodation was cosy and surrounded by beautiful gardens and walking/hiking trails. There's even a butterfly house on site, although I steered clear of this given my dislike of butterflies and moths. We only managed to squeeze in a half an hour walk in the morning prior to leaving Thames but I imagine quite a bit of time could easily be spent exploring the surroundings. The icing on top of the cake that was our wonderful accommodation was the friendliness of our hosts Dianne and Peter.
HOT WATER BEACH
We visited NZ during the month of June. Winter does not make for great beach weather, but this was not the case at Hot Water Beach. As the name suggests, the water is HOT. You just have to know where to look. And dig for it. The actual beach water is cold but there is a natural underground hot springs that can be accessed during low tide. We of course had not packed a shovel but our lovely hosts were more than happy to lend us theirs. Otherwise they can also be hired from cafes at the beach.
You know you're close to jackpot when the sand underneath your feet starts to feel really warm. The more ambitious diggers created quite a large hot water pool and were able to enjoy their fruits of their labour. We were happy enough to find some hot water in one of the many holes we dug.
Alongside Hot Water Beach, the visually stunning Cathedral Cove (Te Whanganui-A-Hei) is also a must-see site if you're visiting the Coromandel Peninsula. It's best to bring runners or hiking shoes as it's about a 20-25 minutes trek down to the beach from the carpark, and if you're waiting to catch a beautiful sunset like we did, the walk back to the car is less easy to execute in the dark. There are also other walking treks in the area if you have the time to explore.