Exploring the Coromandel Peninsula

Trip Start May 20, 2010
Trip End Sep 05, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, December 10, 2010


Day : 209
Temperature : 25 degrees
Weather : Lovely

We continued north up to the Coromandel Peninsula. The scenery changed to become more like the New Zealand that we have come to love - natural forested areas full of cabbage palms, tree ferns and flax plants, although the weather had now turned and we had drizzly rain for most of the day, with the exception of the odd torrential downpour.

Our first stop was the famous Hot Water Beach. For two hours either side of low tide it is possible to create your own natural hot tub by digging holes in the sand which then fill up with hot water which bubbles up from a boiling resevoir underground. Another sign of the geothermal activity in the area. We arrived one hour before low tide and paid $5 to rent a spade in order to dig our hole.

When we turned the corner and approached the area we were met with an absolute free-for-all with dozens and dozens of people crammed in like sardines having already dug their hole in the sand, and dozens more frantically digging away in any spare space that was available. In fact, it was so busy that there was absolutely no room left for us. To be honest, it wasn't really our scene anyway. As you can see from the piccie of Kev, he's quite speechless at the scene before him.

We returned our spade, unused and made a hasty retreat out of there. Maybe it was a busy day and it was just bad luck. So we continued north to the town of Whitianga where we bought some fish and chips and ate them by the sea watching a group of people practice their Tai Chi on the sand. We later had a lot of fun taking some pictures of the sea gulls which we fed scraps to, although I think the photos have turned out like some horror scene from Hitchcock's film "The Birds"!

We moved further up the coast and ventured down a little lane where and finally arrived at the most beautiful beach just as the light was fading. As we got out to take some photos a pod of 6 dolphins came past us incredibly close to the shore, in maybe a metre of water. We watched for a few minutes until they headed back into deeper water and eventually disappeared.

The following morning the weather had improved dramatically from the day before and we spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful beach. We headed over the mountains to Coromandel stopping to take some pictures on the way. We continued on to Thames where we stopped to repair the cigarette lighter which had broken meaning that we couldn't use it to charge any of our electrical equipment and the batteries on our phones, ipods, cameras and more crucially the lap top where almost flat. The friendly chap in the garage quickly diagnosed the problem and replaced the broken parts in a jiffy, and with everything then on charge we set off once again.

As we travelled along the coast we stopped to view hundreds of birds having a feeding frenzy out at sea. There must have been a shoal of fish somewhere out there, and the birds were taking full advantage. Gannets, cormorants and other birds which looked like terns of some sort were going crazy The scene was amazing and the gannets, who were particularly impressive, folded their wings back and dived like darts into the water, only to surface, take off and dive again. Spectacular!

We travelled on, up past the town of Miranda until we found a perfect little place to camp, right by the sea. As the sun set, the stars came out, and since it is a particularly clear night the night sky looks particularly awesome tonight. I think I'll just sit here and watch the universe for a while.......
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Antony on

Dig, dig, dig, dig....theme song from Snow white and the 7 Dwarfs just sprung to mind. Dad told me your are departing NZ 17th for the Islands so have fund...presume you are have XMass & NY there ?

standbytraveler on

Great pics there!

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