A Travellerspoint blog

Hahei

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.
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Coromandel 4

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:
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Coromandel 11

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Coromandel 2

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.
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Coromandel 9

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Coromandel 10

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.
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Cormandel 8

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Coromandel 7

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Coromandel 6

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.New Zealand-1

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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.
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New Zealand-26-2

Posted by Sikhamsay 03:05 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Auckland

The City of Sails

Two days later I finally made it to New Zealand. Landed at 1:30 in the morning and tired as hell. Add in time to get through customs, the taxi ride to the hotel, checking in to the hotel, then having to wait to change rooms because they gave us the wrong room, it was well past 3 in the morn before my head hit the pillow. We woke up the next morning ready to explore Auckland but little did we know that a storm has decided to dump rain on the city. And being on the 13th floor of the hotel we were being hit by strong winds. It was the soggiest holiday Auckland has seen in years and the rain made the front page news.
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Auckland 9

Since we had a kitchen in our hotel room we decided to cook dinner. Walked down to the market near the waterfront and bought some lamb chops. Groceries are not cheap here in Auckland. You can buy live green mussels at the grocery store! We ended up spending more on groceries than what we probably would've paid for eating out.
Auckland

Auckland

The rain stopped so we decided to go get drinks on our first night in Auckland. We pre-loaded at the hotel bar...it was happy hour! Met some people from Tasmania and we ended up bar hopping with them. We all got drunk and then couldn't remember the way back to the hotel so we wandered around Auckland for a bit until we finally gave in and called a taxi. We weren't far. It was a short 5 minute drive back to the hotel. Oh well.

Woke up the next morning not feeling to good. We walked down to get some coffee at a nearby cafe. While I was sipping my coffee I looked up at the television and realized that we were all watching a professional dart match. We then decided to go check out the neighborhood called Ponsonby just outside the Auckland city center. It's a nice neighborhood. Trees line the streets and the homes are quirky and almost all have views of the Auckland skyline. Lots of bars and restaurants as well but we ended up by deli meats and cheeses to eat back at the hotel.
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Auckland 6

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Auckland 5

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Auckland 4

By the time we got back to the hotel it started to rain again and the downpour would not let up. We decided to stay in because of the rain and get up early the next morning to catch a ferry to Waiheke island. Auckland city sits on an isthmus with natural harbors on each side. The waterfront is constantly dotted with yachts giving it the city of sails nickname. Massive cruise ships could also be seen in the harbor.
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Auckland 1

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Auckland 2

Waiheke island is a 40 minute ferry ride and the weather was worlds apart. The sun decided to show up on Waiheke island. We got to the island right at lunch time. I had some fish and chips or shall I say fush and shups...that's Kiwi talk.
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Waiheke 1

With our bellies full we went on a hike of that took us from lush tropical reserves to white sandy beaches. At times the humidity was stifling while hiking through the reserves. There was a group of kiwis camping in some of the reserves and I don't know how they can handle the humidity.
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On the ferry ride back to Auckland I could see the clouds hovering over the city and was bummed to leave behind such good weather. The kiwis didn't seem to mind the inclement weather since a bunch of them were decked out to party it up for New Year's eve in Auckland. We decided to head down to the Viaduct harbor for new years and because it's where all the locals are headed. Tons of bars and restaurants down there and best views of the fireworks too. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures from New Years and I blame it on the alcohol. I'm still piecing together the night. I know we bar hopped with some kiwis, a swede, someone from the Philippines, and some Aussies. I missed the countdown for the 2nd year in a row and didn't even realize it was the new year until I saw the smoke from the fireworks. What a great night!!!

Posted by Sikhamsay 01:38 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Sydney

The Layover

Finally made it to Sydney...was a brutal 15 hour flight. I only have about 8 hours to explore this town before hopping on a flight to Auckland. Took the train into downtown Sydney...it's super convenient.
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Great weather here. About 72F with scattered clouds. Downtown Sydney is as cosmopolitan as they get. The streets are well kept and extremely clean.
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It was a short walk from the train station down to Sydney harbor. The opera house and and the Sydney harbor bridge are as iconic as they come. Amazing views of the water and the Sydney skyline.
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After the harbor we came back for for some pub grub. Had some local beers and a great burger. The TV's were broadcasting a cricket game...Australia vs India. I don't get Cricket but the Aussies love it.
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With my belly full of food and booze we walked over to check out the Sydney musuem and the botanical gardens. There were giant bats flying above us. See if you can spot them in the photo.
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Sydney


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Australia is close to Asia and you can see the Asian influence all around. We walked over to China town to check out some cheap souvenirs.
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What else would you buy when you're in Australia? Uggs! They're everywhere!
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For the most part downtown Sydney is spotless and graffiti free except for this building.
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About 8 hours later we headed back to the airport for our fly out to Auckland. It's been a long journey so far and there's still a 3 hour flight before our final destination. As we boarded our flight the sun started to set over Sydney. I'm looking forward to a great time in New Zealand. But for now I'm just looking forward to a shower and a comfy bed.
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Posted by Sikhamsay 16:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

The First Chapter

LAX

So I'm off to New Zealand! I already managed to check in at the wrong counter and found out I don't have a Visa to travel to Australia even though my final stop is New Zealand. But I'm here waiting for my 15 hour flight to Sydney to take off. I have my buzz going from a pre take off beer at Malibu Al's and even ran into Mischa Barton. I'll post again once I land in Sydney.

Posted by Sikhamsay 22:36 Comments (0)

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