Thursday, 15 December 2011

New Zealand Tour. Dig your own spa on a Hot Water Beach, Fun thats Free.

As it is now the 2nd of October and we are on the North Island I expected better weather, but it was another dull rainy day and that was a shame as the drive from Auckland to The Coromandel Peninsular looked good even on this horrid day. Leaving Auckland early Sunday morning we took the Pacific Coast Highway looping around The Firth of Thames, or The Seabird Coast; everything has a strap line in NZ! The land in this area seemed to be made up of seashells with a small covering of topsoil. The best thing was the roads were straight, well as we passed Miranda anyway. We had breakfast in the ex gold mining / logging  town of Thames,  at a very good place called Food for Thought, it seemed to be a veggie cafe with a knitting theme, it had many hand knitted 3 D pictures on the walls, as well as knitted tea cosy's. Refreshed we followed the SH 20 up to Coromandel, the road hugging the spectacular coastline. Even though it was a dull, rainy day the coastline was spectacular with Blue water, small islands, coves filled with white sand, small bays and lots of views that made driving distracting. It was business as usual as far a winding roads go, I had to drive as I was feeling car sick as a passenger. It was pouring with rain and blowing a gale as we drove across from Coromandel to Whitianga on the 309 road so did not get out to do the popular Kauri Loop walk but continued to our destination, Hot Water Beach. I had booked Ocean View Cottage over 18 months ago and it did not disappoint. Ocean View Cottage, 30 Pye Place, Hot Water Beach, RD1, Whitianga is the physical address the web site is . Its located opposite the famous Hot Water Beach. Has two bedrooms, one with a king size bed and the other a twin. A fully equipped kitchen, bathroom, sitting room, BBQ and outdoor shower.
As we arrived the tide was just going out, perfect timing as the hot water on the beach is accessible two hours each side on low tide. The cottage had shovels so we grabbed one and in the pouring rain found a hot spot on the sand, dug a hole and sat in the private spa for a long time. In fact it was so much fun that we did it the next day as well. Over hyped? Over touristic? And overcrowded it might be, but it is still a unique, free attraction that you should not miss if you visit this area. The water that bubbles up is scalding hot in places you have to mind that you don’t burn you bum! But its great fun. 
Danger....The Water really is HOT!
Join The Rush to get the 'Best' Spot?

Dig you feet in to find the hot water.

Dig your self a hole

And relax!
Whilst exploring this area we also had a good day walking the tracks around Cathedral Cove and Shakespeare Cliffs, also getting the ferry over to the town of Whitianga. After two very relaxing days we were on the road again driving towards The Bay of Plenty. Following a very relaxed lunch at Mount Maunganui we continued to a Top 10 Campsie at Papamoa Beach. Here we rented a Holiday Unit, the unit was large and could sleep six, as with all the accommodation in New Zealand it was very clean and comfortable. The site itself relied on its beach front location and would not have been very good if you were camping, for instance it did not have a large communal kitchen, it did not have a kitchen area at all. It was also the most expensive campsite we stayed on. By now the rain had stopped we walked miles along the pristine beach, the wind that was blowing made walking hard work. It was this same storm that contributed to the ship The Rena running aground on the Astrolabe Reef the next day and subsequently covering the beach in oil.