I got my car at 10 in the morning, then packed up my stuff, got a coffee for the way and my repaired bag, and ran into Clint and a friend.
Final hugs, and off I go.
My first stop tonight is Hot Water Beach, however I took quite a detour via the Coromandel Peninsula. Separated by the Firth of Thames, a rather shallow water, it is opposite of the long northern peninsula of New Zealand’s North Island and Auckland.
The drive was ok, quite some traffic and it took a bit till I left the city behind me. The landscape changed into a rural, agricultural setting, with endless fields, cows and sheep, forests and green hills.
First stop was the town of Thames, a cute little assembly of houses… Its high time was when they found gold in the adjacent mountains. But once that was over, what was left were the cows… It had a bit of an alternativ feel, organic shops galore…
I had lunch (great risotto cake and salad in Sola Café, a yummy vegetarian restaurant) and drove on North to Coromandel. I left a lot of things on the side that I could have visited, from the gold mines to butterfly gardens and waterfalls… But I wanted to arrive not too late, to enjoy the beach a little.
The road was windy, along the shore of the water, then suddenly it went up. The Coromandel Range is quite high, but the drive was worth it. On top I had a great view over the bay, and in the far distance could make out Waiheke Island, this time from the other side, and the iconic cone of Rangitoto in the background…
So If I can spot Rangitoto, I should be able to see Auckland, at least the Sky Tower! Full on zoom, and indeed, in the blueish, undefined mist at the horizon, a tiny needle sprang up, with the recognizable shape of the Sky Tower… I tried to take pictures, but it’s rather just a shadow….
I wonder what this might look like during a clear night, with Auckland’s glow, and the Tower lit up in its various colors.
I was a bit melancholic. Like a final greeting from Auckland, another stop on this trip that is already over.
On the other side though, more hills and bays and beaches! On to the town of Coromandel, where I didn’t stop even though it was cute, and on to Whitianga, with a quick stop at one of the amazing beaches.
I arrived at Hot Water Beach at around 5… but I had just missed the low tide!
Hot Water Beach has a hot volcanic spring right in the sand of its beautiful beach, however you can only fully experience it at low tide. People arrive with spades and dig little holes in the sand to simmer in the hot water coming from below.
Even too late, I still went right away, maybe I could still feel it. And indeed, standing close to the rocks right in the waves, and digging my feet into the sand, in the rising tide, I could feel the warm sand… a bit deeper though, and it got really HOT.
Hot as in boiling toes and get the hell out of the sand! The temperatures reach up to 65 degrees, way outside your comfort zone.
Fascinating thing though. You can stand in the surf, watch the surfers and enjoy warm feet! I watched the surfers from a nearby surf school until sundown, then went to my little cabin and had a burger from the resort’s small food truck. Was actually pretty good.
Now I am sitting outside of my little hut, with night falling… Next low tide is at 1 a.m. I might still be up. Actually, we’re so far off any city that the stars will surely be great tonight, so I’ll walk over to the beach again and start counting. And then maybe sit in the Hot Beach at night.
The internet connection is crap here, so the pics will have to wait….