A group of 6 people left Auckland at 8.30am on Saturday 17 December 2016 and went to Coromandel. It was a warm, sunny day, about 20 to 25 degrees. There was very little traffic, so the drive to Tairua, Coromandel only took 1 hour 50 minutes.
We had a short stop at Ocean Beach, Tairua and then drove another 30 minutes to Hot Water Beach. Because the hot water area of the beach is only accessible as the tide goes out and we were early, we had lunch on the beach while we waited for the tide to go out a bit.
After lunch, we found a likely spot on the beach and by digging our toes into the sand we could feel hot water below, so we waited a short while longer and then excavated our hot water pool, before resting in our hot pool, basking in the sun.
A woman in a neighbouring pool got us to speak to her husband who she was talking to via Skype. He was in Canada and was surrounded by snow. After some of us had a swim in the sea, we got changed into dry clothes and drove to Hahei / Cathedral Cove, which is only 10 to 15 minutes away.
The walk to Cathedral Cove is a typical New Zealand bush walk – up then down then up again but there are some stunning views on the way. The Cove is always a stunning sight, with white sand, blue sea, rocks shaped by the sea and the archway which was made famous in the first 2 Narnia movies – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. We explored the area and watched some people practising yoga on a rock in the archway which made for some great photos.
We took our time on the walk back to the carpark, enjoying the forest around us and the views over the sea and islands.
We returned to Tairua (a 30- minute drive) and finished our outdoor activities at Paku Hill, Tairua which has spectacular views from the top and finally we had a thoroughly enjoyable dinner at Manaia Kitchen & Bar in Tairua, a restaurant I enjoy eating at during tours of Coromandel.
We returned to Auckland and the passengers were dropped off between 10pm and 10.30pm, depending on where their accommodation was.