Unfortunately we had to breeze through this section of the North Island, but we did have a chance to take in some of the classic sights/sites. The Cormorandel Peninsula is full of narrow, winding roads that follow the water’s edge. It reminded us of the scenic drive between Tillamook and Pacific City, except the roads were more narrow here. We spent half of the day trying to locate good internet and the other half on the beach.
We did walk from Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove and back. This was a beautiful hike down to a small beach with a huge limestone cave like structure that you could walk straight through to the other side of the beach. It was massive–the ceiling was probably 40 feet overhead. We spent some time on the beach enjoying the scenery and taking lots of pictures, of course, before hiking back.
From there we headed to the infamous Hot Water Beach (or in our case cold water beach). This is spot where you can go and dig mini spa pools that are heated by the geothermal activity underfoot. We did not realize the magic could only take place two hours each side of low tide. We arrived at the beach about 2 hours after prime time and eight hours before the next time we could dig. Nonetheless, we walked on the beach just so we could say we had been there. Who wants to smell like sulphur anyways? Guess we’ll have to save that for our next trip to NZ.
Today we are spending time in Rotorua, NZ’s most visited geothermal area. Besides using the internet (we have had quite a lot of difficulty finding reliable and affordable internet), we hope to take a walking tour of the city, maybe go to an art museum or a Maori village, and if we can handle it, sit in another hot sulphur pool. From here we will take off for Lake Waikaremoana and be out in the bush for the next several days. Our first Great Walk and official tramp of our time in NZ. We are really looking forward to it.