Wednesday, April 4th 2018
Starting the day with breakfast at the owners kitchen. A very nice variety of everything. Elena is providing me with tips for the day – where to go, what to see – and some small talk. The family emigrated from Germany to New Zealand 7 years ago. Interesting to hear how it is here.
First destination of the day is Hot Water Beach on the east coast of the Coromandel peninsula. A drive of 75 km. I am still working on my geocaching achievements, so there are several stops for geocaches on the way out there. The weather was quiet cloudy in Thames this morning, but the closer I get to the coast, th better the weather gets.
Hot water beach on Mercury bay (Link) is what it says. A beach (with the mandatory holiday homes) but a beach with geothermal activity under it. At low tide you can dog down and get your own warm pool – up to 64 degree C. But also the outside temperature is hot today. the thermometer is closing in on 30C. There are not many people (not more than a hand full) at the beach and I will not dig down today to find hot water. The scenery is very nice, but I am not a beach person and I have more to see.
After a short stop and walk I get back to the car and continue to my next goal for the day: Cathedral cove (Link) 10 km north of hot water beach. I was told this is a must go trip. Because of thousands of visitors, the neighbors got the parking lot closed and everybody has to use the big car park at the entrance to the village. There is a shuttle bus every 20 minutes to the start of the walk down to the cove (5 NZ$). Parking my car getting my stuff and up I go.
Arriving at the top of the cliff, I notice two things. The beautiful view over the bay and the heat that is now at around 30/31 C and the sun burning down. Just taking the must do pictures and starting my way down the 45-50 minutes way down. At least I thought so.
The sun has so much power that I get a headache right at the start. Not much help covering the head. I feel the dry mouth, the pressure on the airways… My water supply for the trip is limited and after 10 minutes down I make the very unpopular decision (unpopular because I don’t want to) to return back to the top.
I really wanted to go there, but the heat and its effects tell me i might get down the way, but up is another story. With more clouds and 5-6 degree lower temperature I would have done it. I am of course very disappointed and check for other possibilities to get there. There are some offers for boat trips, but the one I would like to have does not operate today and the other is so expensive that I decide against it. Maybe there will be a next time.
I continue my tour north to Whitianga. As all towns I have visited on my trip, this is nothing special or nice an does not invite for a stop that is longer than to get some water and a bite to eat. o far I have seen to villages that were nicer. The rest is this US type street town totally based on car traffic and not much other than a grid pattern of housing areas. SO landscape great, towns nah….
My host gave me the tip to go back to Thames using the road 309 to get back to the west coast of Coromandel. I think this is one of the roads my rental agreement excludes… but hey, who i checking it. It is an about 30 km drive, going through the mountains over a pass.
The road is easily found and after 1 km the fun begins. It is a mostly 1 lane road with now asphalt – which means it is a gravel road. There are not many meeting points for cars and there is lack of crash barriers along the road. Some place go down so it might me a good idea, not to got to fast into the swings. But it is a nice ride. Reminds me a little bit of the Aursjo mountain road in Norway.
There are two stops on the way. First the Waiau kauri grove. A nice 25 minutes hike into the forest and some kauri trees. Again with washing your shoes when entering and leaving.
The second stop is only a few hundred meters away. The Waiau falls. Of course I meet some German geocachers here that saw me at the cathedral cove viewpoint, finding a geocache. Getting a tip about the one at the falls it is only 100 meter into the forest. I am the only person there and after finding what had to be found I just sit there looking at the waterfall. Very peaceful – until a group of people arrives and I go back to my car.
Back to Thames along the coast which has some nice views and the starting of dusk gives it a nice touch. About 50 km to where I stay. A very winding road with a lot of roadworks – the road must have been nearly destroyed in a storm in January. So no fast driving here.
In Thames a short detour on top of a hill with a war memorial (the Kiwis love war memorials) and a nice view over town in addition to a geocache that is hidden there. In town i get some Turkish food (which is really good and cheap) and then I head home.
The evening is concluded with some movies.