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The Coromandel Peninsula is a very unique and beautiful part of New Zealand. On my North Island roadie we started our trip to the Coromandel from Tauranga. After a couple of hours drive we arrived at Hot Water beach in Haihei, only to be told we are a little late and the tide was about to come in. We decided to visit back a couple of days later and time it for when the tide had out (tide times are here). If you dig down in certain spots on the beach you will reach hot springs! Don’t be deceived by its name, the whole beach isn’t hot but it is still an awesome place. We found the spot, which were at times too hot – like boiling water hot! The water can be up to 64 degrees Celsius. Beware that a lot of people have the same idea in the summer, and remember to check when the tide goes out otherwise you won’t be able to dig because you’ll be in the middle of the ocean! If you want to join in on the fun you can hire spades from Hot waves café, Hotties café or at the Top 10 Holiday Park. The springs are in front of the massive rocks – I’m sure you won’t miss it because everyone will be standing in the same area!
Another hot spot in the Coromandel is Cathedral Cove, it’s only a 5 minute drive from Hot Water beach. It’s a great day out and absolutely beautiful on a summers day. It takes around an hours walk to get to Cathedral Cove with many other beaches you can have a look at on the way – opt to spend the day there and you can visit them all! A popular option is to do a kayaking tour which can start at $95 per person. You can kayak for an hour or even half a day if you wanted, with a guided tour around the bays. Parking is very difficult around Cathedral Cove and especially in the summer. The strong waves ripped my bikini bottoms off leaving me half naked and revealing my derriere to the nation!
After a great day soaking up the rays, we then drove right up north to a place called Waikawau Bay, where there is an enormous DOC (Department of Conservation) camping site. We were lucky as there was hardly anyone there so we had the beach all to ourselves. Enjoy some body boarding or go rock pooling and find some little creatures! At night-time you can hear the Kiwis scuttling about around the tents, it’s pretty amazing! I would highly recommend this campsite and the people who run it are lovely. With 338 tent sites, and 21 powered sites, you’ll find plenty of spots to camp. It’s right on the beach and is totally worth paying $10 per person for the night. The road to this campground is all gravel and I would advise caution when driving these roads. At the top of the mountains you get a handful of beautiful views so have your camera handy so you can quickly pull over and take a snap.
Our last stop in the Coromandel Peninsula was the DOC campground called Kauaeranga Visitor Centre. This is another huge place with 8 different campsites within the visitor centre. We stayed at a beautiful spot with the river right next to us so we could have either chilly morning or afternoon swims! There are loads of good walks around this area too so if you want to do some exploring this is a great place to stay!
I hope this inspired some of you to check out the Coromandel Peninsula in New Zealand. If you need accommodation check out Agoda, they have fantastic deals on hotels throughout the country! I highly recommend them. If you are wanting to camp around New Zealand, pop into one of the information centres and grab a DOC pamphlet. They have a really good map of the country with all the campsites and detailed information about them. If you get stuck you can also find excellent information on their website as well.