Hot Beaches! Kayaks! Narnia!

Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Nov 16, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No time to hang around Coromandel it was back on the open road and across the peninsula to the other side passing a view point where you could see the sea on both sides. Then down to the coast and in search of the fabled, New Chums Beach. Sadly after a 45 minute stroll along a beach we found it to be whangamate (or something) beach and not the beach we had been seeking.
Back on the road and we found a minigolf venue (Ellie's defining passion). We enjoyed a midday round and I managed to scrape a victory by 3 strokes which I put down to taking an unorthodox approach through the kiwi tunnel on the 9th.
We made it to hot water beach just before low tide. The beach is cunningly named, as the sea recedes a portion of the beach is revealed that has hot springs beneath it. (A subterranean resevoir is heated by magma and forces its way to the surface through the sand). Folks gather, shovel in hand and dig a little hole in the sand, sit in it and enjoy the delights of hot spring water, up to 64 degrees celsius (scorchio). 
As the tide turns the sea comes back up the beach and covers the site, but for four hours or so (twice a day) you can enjoy the hot baths. We borrowed a shovel and excavated our own pool and wallowed for an hour or so. Ellie took the opportunity to photograph a quail and a tui that were hanging around the beach. I tried to photograph the wildlife returning from the hot springs, but was less successful. A short drive away we camped at a site in Huhai, having booked places on a sea kayak tour the next morning. We went to the only restaurant in town, Luna Cafe and had a most splendid dinner, with a really good SB (as they call Sauvignon Blanc here).. Goldwater Marlborough if you're interested. The walk back to the campsite was dark and revealed the brightest night sky I can remember. Of course being a northerner (hemispherically) I didn't recognise any of the constellations.

An early start was needed in order to be on the beach and ready for kayaking at 7:45 (ouch). It turned out this was a different thing to the kayaking andy & I had done in Tonga, we had proper sea kayaks with life jackets and spray decks and watertight containers and rudders!! What's more we had instruction and a guide.
There were 4 kayaks including the guide and we paddled out and round some of the islands in Mercury Bay (named by Cook as he saw Mercury transiting the sun from this bay) and ended up on Cathedral cove , where Mark, our guide brewed up some coffee. This beach was a location used in one of the Narnia films (maybe you have seen it, I haven't). It was mighty impressive, with caves and arches and promontories.
After our coffee break we proceded back to Huhai beach, via a cave which was pretty cool (apparently a location couples go for "some privacy", when the beach is busy.)

Back in Huhai and a quick shower in our home from home (loving this campervan!) and off we went again. On the way to Rotorua we passed through a town with a goldmine in the middle of the main street. Apparently the mine is still working, but they get 3 grammes of gold from every tonne of rock extracted (seems a bit like hard work to me).
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Where I stayed
Huhai Beach Holiday Park
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