Another area I ended up in twice was The Coromandel. The first time I went on Queen’s Birthday weekend in 2007. I stayed in Waihi, not knowing how freakin’ far it was from Haihei, but it was a nice drive and as always, you live and learn. And even though it was a holiday weekend, I knew what “holiday traffic” translated to in New Zealander at this point. I didn’t really do much my first time there as it rained nearly the entire weekend. I went on Cathedral Cove Kayaking tour and loved it. Since I was by myself, I went with the guide and unfortunately, he “drove” the kayak, but oh well. The trip was awesome and informative! And all the guides are from New Zealand, not like a lot of the guides on the South Island (I’ll get to that at some point). I loved that everyone was local. After the tour, I walked up to Hot Water beach, but it wasn’t too much fun being there alone. The water there is pretty nuts though. During low tied, you dig into the sand and hot water comes up, thanks to a freak of nature in the ground. How anyone discovered it, is beyond me. I tried to go horseback riding too, but the tours weren’t running because of the rain.
I am not a train nerd by any means, but since I was in the area, I decided to ride the Goldfields Railway in Waihi and it was actually kind of fun! It killed a few hours before I returned to Auckland (and shopping for the month of course).
When the family came to visit and my sister stayed an extra week, after we dumped the parents off at the airport, we kept heading south for the town of Whitianga, which is one of the larger towns in The Coromandel. We stayed at Turtle Cove hostel in a double room in one of their trailers in the backyard. Unfortunately, we didn’t know but this was a stop off for the Kiwi Experience bus and on our first night, the place was packed and loud and the nearest bathroom was across the backyard in the house. But owners were wicked friendly and they allowed free use of shovels and buckets for Hot Water Beach, which my sister took eagerly. During our time in Whitianga, we took the ferry across the bay, went on some hikes around Shakespeare Reserve and of course, I had to take my sister on the kayaking trip I had been on earlier that year. But this time, I had to drive the kayak! We split it up and each took a turn as you stop for a coffee and tea break at Cathedral Cove. We then spent the rest of the afternoon at Hot Water Beach, where I promptly fell asleep and got horribly burned (what else is new). All in all, a great time and even better with a friend!
Moral: New Zealand is a single persons paradise. I rarely had trouble doing things alone or finding single rooms, but for some reason, it was kind of hard in The Coromandel. I had a much better time when I went with my sister. I don’t know if it was because of summer, but I am going to say it was because I had someone with me! The beach is always better with a friend. The Coromandel is another tourist fav but I think I have done all I want and like Paihia, I’m done for now.