The Coromandel Peninsula
On New Year's day we decided to head out to the sleepy beach town called Hahei located on the Coromandel Peninsula. To get there we first have to take a 3 hour ferry from Auckland to the Cormandel township. On New Year's day there is only one ferry and it departs at 8 AM. Not good since we drank heavily the night before and barely got any sleep. The ocean must of known that we partied hard the night before and it decided to punish us with huge swells that rocked the ferry back and forth. It was torture. And 3 hours later we arrived at the dock and took a 20 minute bus ride to the Coromandel township. There ain't much this town but some shops and restaurants. I had a delicious bowl of steamed New Zealand green-lipped mussels for lunch. I don't know why these green mussels taste so damn good here in New Zealand. I never eat them in the states. Maybe it's because we can only get them frozen in the U.S.
To get to Hahei it's a 3 hour ferry to Coromandel township, then it's an hour drive over and down a mountain to the town of Whitianga, then another ferry ride and finally a 45 minute drive to Hahei. Why put ourselves through this long journey? Here's why:
Hahei has some of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. White sand and the best weather in kiwi land. It's normally a sleepy town of about 4,000 but during the holiday season the population more than doubles. We had trouble trying to find accommodation in Hahei but lucked out because of some cancellations. We ended up staying at a B&B that was a short 5 minute walk to beautiful Hahei beach. We were also close to the best restaurant in town and I had delicious lamb there and some local beer.
The main reasons why people flock to Hahei beach is to see Cathedral Cove and to experience Hot Water beach. We got up at 7:30 the next morning to catch low tide at Hot Water beach. The Coromandel peninsula is volcanic in origin so at when it's low tide at Hot Water beach you simply dig up some sand and hot water percolates up from the ground creating a hot spring. The only thing is that it's not a big secret anymore and crowds of people show up there. The water gets REALLY hot and there are nurses standing by because people get burnt by the hot water. Once the tide started coming in the lifeguard makes everyone leave because the currents are too swift and people often drown at Hot Water beach. As a matter of fact, we heard sirens later in the day because some medics were responding to a near drowning at hot water beach.
Later in the day we hiked out to Cathedral Cove. It's a moderate to difficult hike that takes you to a beautiful beach. The views along the hike are breathtaking and go from green pastures to dramatic sea cliffs.
On the hike back the sun was still shining and we wanted to take advantage of the great weather. And once I saw a view of Hahei beach from the hike I coldn't resist. We ended up spending hours on Hahei beach and got a nice tan. We left Hahei just as the rain came back. It's going to be a 3 hour bus ride back to Auckland to catch a flight out to Wellington.