At the risk of last weeks’ blog post of where to go in New Zealand’s North Island being too much, here is Part 2 (blushes). What can I say… there were simply too many photo’s for just one post last week and this amazing part of New Zealand really does deserve it’s own stage. Case closed.
THE PLACE: our base in Coromandel was Whitianga, somewhere we will absolutely return to. An exceptionally beautiful sea front looks out over the bay which joggers frequent every morning. There are also a handful of cafés and bars such as we had expected but not found at Mangawhai. The town centre has a good amount of shops/places of interest and a couple of big supermarkets so we felt it really was a place that ‘has it all’.
The Harbour and Marina provided an ever-present buzz… people catching clams, heading out on the water for the day… or returning home with their catch as we witnessed below!
The location of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula means it’s excellent for exploring nearby beaches. We took a trip with Cave Cruzer for a few hours which was the most fun! Our skipper was truly excellent; unlike some ‘guided tours’ where they are clearly on auto-pilot, Steve kept us all well-entertained as well as knowing Mercury Bay inside out.
Shark Fin Rock
Cooks Beach was a favourite of all of ours. The shallows go out for miles and if you park at the far end, near the estuary, you get a feeling of being a little detached form the rest of the 3km beach there and as such, is slightly less busy.
That dot in the distance would be Miss P, still only up to her ankles.
Hot Water Beach is a well advertised place – we went to see what the fuss was about. The idea is that you dig in the sand (everyone had a garden spade! We did not) and the temperatures are about 40 degrees. Quite a sight to behold and we did push our feet into the sand (and burnt them) but there were too many people for all our liking…
…So we walked a little further along where the surf was intense and the kids got their first real taste of waves this powerful.
STAY: We chose our Bach (house) for the amazing views, spaciousness to accommodate six people with ease, and facilities. We were not disappointed. Harbour Lights Holiday Home can be found on Bachcare here. The house was amazingly well-equipped including everything we needed for the beach such as new snorkelling kits, body boards, life jackets etc. The only let-down was there was no wi-fi, something Bachcare told us they are working on with house owners in New Zealand.
EAT: The Espy Cafe. Owing to needing wi-fi for my work, I discovered this place on day one. So it followed, ever morning at 8am we went for pancakes and our wi-fi fix! The pancakes were insane and the sights of the Marina waking up made it quite perfect.
Salt. Salt Restaurant and Bar has such a beautiful setting. The food was exquisite and though this wouldn’t be perhaps a place we would take the kids for regular meal on an evening, as a last night specialty it was perfect.
Now we have a very dear family in New Zealand, I hope it’s not too long before I can share other adventures with you. For now, this concludes chapter 1. OX~