The Coromandel Peninsula is said to be the most beautiful part of the North Island. I cannot tell if it is so, but what I’ve seen was stunning! Waiheke Island had flashed me. Ninety Mile Beach was impressive and Coromandel was just … beautiful.
We started in Thames, a small town with a history of Gold Miners. Checkerboard streets with the feeling of a middle USA town – we even saw men wearing Cowboy hats – a small campground behind a restaurant – which smelled of old fat – and mangrove forests at the coastline. But Thames turned out to be especially charming. The owners of the campground were very sweet people. We had a good chat with them and were given some „silver beet“ of their sons garden. We also had a good coffee in a small cafe and a nice beer in a bar.
The next day we left for Coromandel. Entering from the south we cruised through gorges and over huge green hills with scenic views over the sea. Our first stop was Paku Summit, which presented us a majestic view over Pauanui and Coromandel. But we wanted to go further and after a short break we drove off north – to Cathedral Cove. And this was definitively worth the one hour hike from the carpark. Cathedral Cove is a big arch within white cliffs that plunge into the sea. At low tide you can walk through the cove, what we did. Awestruck and looking at the 10 meters high ceiling we heard the sound of waves crashing at the shore on the other side trying to get into the cove. We made it through and stood on another beautiful beach. But we only had a few minutes on the other side, before we needed to head back.
After a night on an expensive campsite at the beach, we left early and drove to Hot Water Beach! As it was Christmas and we wanted to spent it at the beach, this was perfect. Huge waves and a lot surfers welcomed us and after a few minutes walk through the sand we reached what is called Hot Water Beach: Due to geothermal action underneath the surface you can dig pools in the sand which fill with hot water. An unbelievable amount of people were there, digging, bathing in hot water, taking pictures and screaming in enthusiasm when a cold wave from the sea crashed into their pool. Entertainment at its best.
The night from 24. to 25. we spent in Whitianga. A small tourist town, which fell into a deep sleep over Christmas. We hardly found a restaurant to eat, but we were the first at the free campsite at the beach. Being away from family and friends on Christmas in a town where nothing happened was a strange feeling. Later that night other campers arrived at the campsite and a lot locals walked their dogs at the beach. We decided to celebrate Christmas with a bottle of wine and some night photoshoots at the bay.