“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Tuesday 23 October 2012

The Coromandel Peninsula...Whangamata, North Island, New Zealand

We're off again leaving Auckland behind and heading south east across to the Coromandel Peninsula to a place called Whangamata on the Pacific coast.
Yet again the drive across the spine of the peninsula was breathtaking at times.
I have to confess that I'm running out of adjectives to describe the astonishing sights we are seeing. I've lost count of how many times we've voiced the word 'wow' as we've driven around a bend.
The Coromandel is a largely untouched paradise.
Native pohutukawa trees line the western side, the eastern shores are fringed with sparkling white-sand beaches, and the ranges in the middle are covered in lush native rainforest.
The crystal-clear water is perfect for swimming, surfing, fishing and snorkelling, while on the land there are fantastic walks with cascading waterfalls, gold-mining relics and fascinating natural features.
The rugged ranges offer panoramic views of the peninsula.
In fact it's hard to keep driving and I must admit I was glad that I wasn't driving.
I constantly shouted out 'stop' as yet another fantastic photographic opportunity came into view.
It's not always a good idea on the bend of a high narrow mountain road with a sheer drop off the edge!

Whangamata is a beach resort combining rainforest with a spectacular beach that boasts some of the best surf breacks, safest swimming, in New Zealand.
Other activities include big game fishing, golf, mountain biking and bush walks so there's lots of choice depending on your holiday ticklist.

But onto our next accommodation...after our last stay we did wonder if it could possibly come anywhere near Eden Park B&B, but with a name like 'Pacific View' we were hopeful.
We needn't have worried...with a view like this what more could you want?

What a way to start your day!

'Pacific View' boutique bed and breakfast certainly delivered on many counts.  
It is located at the top of the highest hill in Whangamata with spectacular 180° views out to the Pacific
 Ocean, offshore islands and also overlooking the town and estuary.

I could spent hours sitting looking out at the ever changing view....and admit that breakfast was a very leisurely delight with fresh locally sourced fruits plus freshly squeezed orange juice from a tree in the garden. Kathryn’s homemade Muesli is packed full of goodness tpo. 
The bedrooms are tastefully decorated with contemporary colour schemes and the wonderfully comfortable beds are dressed with top-quality linen. We actually were the first guests to stay in a newly converted room so everything was pristine for our stay. 
Just how I like it ;D 

As a Qualmark accredited business with a Four Plus star rating (If you've never heard of Qualmark it's New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality) Pacific View meets environmental and social criteria however they chose to be further assessed through the Qualmark Enviro Award system and in 2012 achieved the Qualmark Silver Enviro award. 
To achieve this means that they have met high levels of environmental and social responsibility. 

Both Kathryn and Peter have travelled extensively, so we had lots to talk about over a pre-dinner drink and nibbles.

Our kind hosts Kathryn and Peter enjoy golfing, gardening and walking and Peter is an enthusiastic fisherman (ocean and fly) and will happily coordinate and accompany you on fishing trips. 
Whangamata is a fisherman's paradise. 
Golfers are catered for with two courses; the challenging Titoki 18 hole course or the easy flat Williamson 9 hole course. My OH chose the easy option (well he is on holiday after all) and Peter kindly joined him for a very pleasant afternoon.

I did finally manage to drag myself away from looking at the view so that we could visit Hot Water Beach.
Upon arriving it looked like lots of other beaches we'd visited...but this one held a secret. 

It is one of New Zealand's most fascinating and popular natural wonders. 
Here for two hours either side of low tide during normal sea conditions, you can dig your own spa pool as the water from hot springs seeps up through the sparkling sands. 

 Surfers love Hot Water Beach for its renowned waves, but only strong swimmers should surf here as the currents can be dangerous.
Here is the information board if you'd like to zoom in for the details of this natural wonder.

Kathryn and Peter gave us a spade to use but you can hire one from the beachside shop. 

The water can reach 60+ degrees so you need to have your defence wall well built to maintain the perfect temperature within your pool...just letting in the right amount of hot water as and when needed. Ahhh....
I'm not sure if you can see on the above photo the steam rising as the flow passes our pool. 
Some people were very crafty and came along a little later which meant that there was the possiblity of finding a vacant spa...that way they didn't even have to work a little for their reward!

I know...what a strange sight!

 Once relaxed (although we weren't even slightly tense never mind stressed, we moved on to visit a picture paradise. Cathedral Cove is a must-see attraction and one of the most beautiful beaches on the peninsula, with remarkable rock formations, pure white sand and crystal-clear water.
We accessed the cove via a walking track down the cliff face from Hahei but there is also the option of boat tours or better still kayaking to the cove. 
The walking track took about 35 minutes and at one stage I did wonder if it was going to be worth the trek but 'wow' (there's that word again) it took my breath away. The photos just don't do this cove justice. 

The colours were incredible and I have to say I became speechless for a time (...there that shows you how impressed I was...it doesn't happen very often that I am unable to speak!)

The gigantic arched cavern passes through a white rock headland to join two secluded coves. The cathedral-like arch gives whole area an air of grandeur.

See it's happened again...I'm speechless just remembering it!

This party of kayakers came ashore and I couldn't believe it as the organiser took the party's orders for refreshments! Tea or coffee anyone?
This I had to see...but voilĂ ...out of heaven knows where, he produced a little cooker, fresh water and proceeded to make tea and coffee for everyone! 

I know I should have stayed in the cove until sunset (sorry N) to capture the cove in its best light but that trek back up to the cliff top preyed heavily on my mind and I really didn't want to do that in darkness. 
Call me a wuss if you like...I won't mind because I'll admit it I am one!

As you can imagine by the time we started to head back we were really hungry after a full day's activities...
so we called into Gauguin's Shell's Restaurant by chance located on the main road of Tairua.
A great place to relax and enjoy a fabulous meal. 
In fact it was one of the best we've had during our stay in New Zealand.
I had the pork belly and my OH had the beef cheeks!

If you're ever passing...just pull in and partake in a culinary delight!
They don't have a website as such so I can't add a link.
Phew...what a day! 
Will you be free to join me again for another packed day? I hope so ;D
In the meantime have a great week.


  1. I just love seeing your pictures and oh so enjoy your writing style. I was speechlees too, but then I'd only be talking to the computer otherwise! That hot beach sounds awesome, how deep a hole did y'all dig? You need to be a tour guide along with all your other talents! What a fun vacation, and I thought it was hilarious that you had pork belly as JUST last night, while out with friends for dinner, one commented that she has never seen or ever tasted a pork belly! lol Not a usual topic for over here in the States! waving hi from the hills of North Carolina :)

    1. Sandee you've made my day and it's not yet 8am and I haven't even had breakfast! Thanks for such lovely compliments.
      My spa was only as deep as my hubby was willing to dig (LOL) but it did the job. There was quite a fresh breeze blowing but once you lowered into the hot spring all was good with the world!
      I just couldn't get out of my mind what a visitor from another planet might have made of this bizarre sight! ;D

      You're friend seriously needs to source some pork belly...the description on the menu read as follows:-
      slow roasted pork belly, kumara gratin (the Moari name for sweet potato), creamy savoy cabbage (which I devoured and I've never eaten cabbage in my life), apple compote, pork crackling (to die for...literally but then it's not for everyday) and cider jus! Are you drooling now sandee?

      Well you've still got lots of treats ahead...so I'll get out there and carry on researching for you. See how dedicated I am?

      Have a great day and say 'hi' to the WOYWW and APR gang for me. I'm not going to make it this week :D

  2. These beaches are totally amazing and your photos just make me drool (or ache to join you!) Your trip is filled with so many wonderful things and views and gorgeous places - we'd wanted to go back to Aus/NZ for a while and now it's moving up the list. I just love every place you've been. Maybe you could help plan our visit?

    1. Morning Terrie,
      I'm so happy to hear that you are enjoying the trip with me. Have to say hubby is being very understanding having you all come along ;D

      But there's so much more to come Terrie, so watch that list...it may well change before I'm done!

      Have a great week and I will visit promise! :D

  3. Oh, I am just loving going on your vacation with you as my guide! I got a kick out of digging the warm spots to sit in the water--LOL! The cave, the rocks, the views--wow! I am ready for the next day--yes!! :)

    1. Follow me Rita...still lots to see...come this way!
      Hey I like being a tour guide! ;D

      I never bothered digging myself I delegated the job to my OH.

      Not sure when I'll be free for another post but I've got lots of material just waiting in the wings.

      Catch you later...in the meantime enjoy your week :D

  4. Sounds like you're having an amazing holiday. It's surprising how much you can pack into one day when you're in the mood! I love the sound of the hot water beach - I think I'd find that very therapeutic.

    1. We're having a brilliant time Mark,
      It's been about four years since we've had a holiday like this so well deserved and we're truly appreciating it.

      By the way we've found a very palatable 2011 Pinot Noir called 900 Grapes grown and bottled in the Marlborough region. Here's there website if you'd like to check it out:-

      The hot water beach was fun but not sure you'd find it therapeutic if like me Jane had you dig the spa!!!
      But then you do get the reward of a fantastic hot soak ~ so relaxing!

      I hope you're week is going well. Have fun :D

  5. Oh wowsers... this really looks like a "bucket list" location. Hard not to be just teeny weeny tad envious of the good time you're having! I too love accommodation that "pays attention to the details" and top quality linen is a must! I'm sure you're also stockpiling ideas and images for your art work ... how exciting. Safe travels and looking forward to more adventures! :-) xx

    1. Whoops...sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your great comments and I apologise if I've made you a little envious but no doubt you'll pay me back later at some stage ;D
      I'm just in the process of posting our next destination and I think you'll like it.

      You're also right about collating all the fantastic inspiration for my future ark work...I just need to get some time to try things out next! There's just not enough hours in the day I'm afraid!

      Must dash otherwise we'll be stuck mid road trip and that'll never do!
      I hope your weekend is going well and you're having lots of fun ~ you may well make me a little envious of your temperatures :D

  6. Gorgeous pics... those beaches are stunning... & hot pools too... Perfect!!! Enjoy!! Hugs May x x x

    1. The beaches are breathtaking May...and so clean plus the colours are incredible!!!

      Catch you later...visiting, blogging answering emails...phewph...it's all go! Good job I'm a multi-tasker ;D

      Have a wonderful week ~ hopefully with lots of creativity thrown in :D


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