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We left Hobbiton in the late morning and continued our trip North. There is a lot to see on the Coromandel Peninsula, but we were running out of time. We only had a couple of days left before our flight home. Fortunately, our list of things to see was growing shorter.
Among the things left on our list was Mount Maunganui, Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
Mount Maunganui was the closest to Hobbiton and Matamata, so that was first on the list.
The hike felt like it went on forever. Not just because it was steep, but because the sun was out and we were farther North. That meant slightly higher temperatures than we had become accustom to.
In reality, the hike was not long and we were soon at the top. The view-all 360 degrees of it-was incredible.
Tired and sweaty from our hike, we continued on to our stopover point for the night in Paeroa. On the way to our booking, there were signs for a waterfall along the side of the road. So we stopped to take a look.
We had booked a room at a B&B. When we pulled up, we had a sneaking suspicion that what we had booked, was in fact, a room in someone’s house. What it actually turned out to be was a sectioned-off corner in the back portion of the garage/basement. Located just beyond the elevated platform that held a model train and a tiny village complete with a looped track.
The experience was a little unnerving, but we survived the night. And the couple that owned the house turned out to be quite friendly, if not a little bit odd. Who isn’t odd in their own way though? After consuming homemade blackberry jam on toast with fresh squeezed tangerine juice we were heading off for our next stop.
Hot Water Beach
Hot Water Beach is one of those places that draw a lot of tourists. It’s not a Disneyland type crowd, but enough to take away the relaxation element of the visit. I was super tired when we arrived at our hotel, The Church Hahei.
Hot Water Beach was not far from our hotel, but laying down felt so good after such a crazy travel schedule. But, for the sake of the experience, I summoned the energy from unknown depths, fought through the desire to sleep, and we ventured out to find the beach.
Hot Water Beach is a place in New Zealand that has a lava pocket under the sand. Sea water makes its way down to the pocket where it is heated up and rises to the surface. All one needs is a shovel and a few minutes of digging at low tide to create a nice hot tub on the beach. That’s exactly what draws the tourists in. A lot of them.
This was our sight walking over to the sand above the lava pocket. I didn’t want to do much more than see how warm the water is. Spoiler alert, it’s warm. So much so that Su scorched her foot on some water that had just made its way to the surface.
We took a quick look, dug a small hole, boiled our feet, and then we were on our way back to the hotel.
Our last stop for the day, and dare I say, one of the last for the trip, was Cathedral Cove. Cathedral Cove is one of those locations that almost everyone has seen somewhere. It’s a pretty famous site. There have been many movies shot there. One of the more recent ones that springs to mind is the Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
Our experience was slightly different than theirs. While the Pevensie’s were whisked away by magic, we had to hike down a bit of trail to get to the beach. But it was worth it.
There were a few people here and there, but overall, we had the place almost to ourselves.
We did meet a group of students from Germany and Su was kind enough to help them with some of their photos.
We spent a few hours walking and exploring waiting for the light to change. It’s a great little spot.
We headed back to the car as the light faded. This would be our last major stop before we had to fly home. As the end of the trip feeling started to set in, we headed back to our hotel.
- Matamata to Hobbiton – New Zealand (Part 14)
- Our Journey to Middle Earth – (Part 1) Mount Sunday
- The Way South – Our Journey to Middle Earth (Part 2)