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New Zealand – Coromandel Peninsula

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The home of Middle Earth, the Rugby World Champions and a little black bird - New Zealand is our closest destination from Australia (although not really from Perth) but this will be our first time visiting this dramatic country.

The first thing we noticed on arriving at Auckland airport was just how friendly everyone was! While we have found people friendly everywhere, it was just even more noticeable here. Right from the bloke in customs, the girl at the mini mart and the bus driver from the airport – really cheerful and straight away offering help. The second thing we noticed was a lot of retail shops from Australia that we hadn’t seen for 6 years, it was like being back in Perth but with a slightly different accent!

After having the 8th of February 2012 disappear into oblivion as we crossed the international date line, we got into Auckland feeling pretty good. We took a stroll down to the harbour side passing the sky tower along the way. We settled down for an afternoon beer overlooking the water enjoying the feeling of being back in summer.

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The following morning we were due to collect our car to drive up to the Bay of Islands, but in the morning checking our emails before we left, the car company said that they didn’t have the car available and were refunding our money... Great!! Commence hunting around for plan B. We had initially decided on a car over a camper van, but over the last couple of days we were wishing that we had actually gone for a camper van, so we saw the cancellation as a blessing in disguise as we started to go down the route of looking for a camper van. The only problem now was that everywhere was all booked up given we are only just out of peak season. A few phone calls round and we eventually found one that we could take from the following day and at a higher price than booking a few months back, ohh well money can be replaced and all it meant for our schedule was dropping Bay of Islands off the destination list.

At 8am we were out at BackPacker Rental Van’s office watching a briefing DVD on how to use our camper van. By 9.30am we were on the road heading for the Coromandel Peninsula. After stocking up the fridge and pantry in the van, the drive took around 4 hours and we headed straight for the beach town of Hahei. The drive was beautiful and very much reminded us of the UK. Green, rolling hills and raining. We could have easily been in Scotland or the English Lake District. Although once we got to the coast line of the peninsula, it was a different story.


We called a kayak company on the way there and booked in for an afternoon sea kayaking around the coastline. Having rain in the morning in Auckland, we had thought that maybe we weren’t going to have such a great day. Luckily, on this side of the mountains, it was beautiful and sunny with hardly a breath of wind.


We were onto the water in a little group of 6 with our guide. She said that we were really lucky as the water was amazingly clear and the wind was so light. We set off for the island off the coast, I can’t remember what it’s called, but it is representative of the nose of the first Maori settler in the area!

The only underwater shot we got before the Sony battery died


Circling around the island, the water was crystal clear and really calm. We kayaked through one of the caves on the island and it was a great way to be able to see it up close and from the waters perspective.


Heading back to the mainland, we landed at Cathedral Cove which has stunning rock formations with a big tall rock and a large tunnel through the headland. The beach was beautiful with nice white sand, calm warm water and these great natural rock features. We messed around for a while getting photos before having a beachside coffee and heading off.

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Paddling back we stopped at a few more of the little bays and then landed back at the Hahei beach. The guide told us that with it being low tide we were perfectly timed for heading round to the Hot Water Beach, which as the name suggests, has a thermal vent right on the beach leaching out hot water. When we got there, the tide was starting to come back in and the few self dug bathing pools were full to the brim with lots of backpackers down there for the same thing. Without any room to hop in we resorted to just standing with our feet a few inches in the warm hot sand and water.

A bathing frenzy

This one was actually cold, but needed it for photographic purposes

We got back into our home for the next few weeks and headed for our first camp ground leaving this beautiful area behind.



Daniel – Only spending 1 afternoon in the whole of Coromandel Peninsula was simply down to our limited time in the country as a whole. This won’t be the last time we visit New Zealand, so we will definitely be back to this part, it was beautiful!

Tanya – Sea kayaking was fantastic. My shoulders are a little sore, but it was a great way to explore the coast. The only other way to get to beautiful cathedral cove is a 1 hour hike so we definitely made the right choice. If we’d had more time we would have returned to hot water beach earlier (based on tide times) and taken a shovel. Oh well, we will just have to come back here too!

Posted by dbgomes 21:55 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand round_the_world

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