Coromandel Peninsula

When Janetta and I were first planning our trip to New Zealand, we realized that we couldn’t quite fit everything into 3 weeks, so I flew down a week earlier to get in a few more spots.  My first was a day trip to the Coromandel Peninsula.

It was an extremely early start with my pickup occurring before 7am, but the day was wonderful. We started with a coffee break in a little town called Thames.

Our first destination was Driving Creek Railway in Coromandel Town, but we made a couple of pitstops to enjoy the view. The first was to admire this very big tree.

And the second was for the most picturesque view I’ve seen in these last 6 weeks.

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When we finally made it to the railway, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Basically there was this guy Barry who bought up this land as it was full of clay and he was a potter.  He built himself a railway to get up and down the mountain to collect his clay, and people turned up wanting a ride.  It has since been turned into the top tourist destination in the area and offers amazing views (and a unique railway experience). Pictures are unfortunately not able to depict the many shades of green in the forest around the railway, but it was absolutely stunning.

There were some pigs blocking the road so we stopped to take some pics and speak with their owner Stuart.

We walked through the Waiau Kauri Grove and got to see some Kauri trees up close.  These are the second tallest trees in the world, after the California Red Woods, and only grow in Northern New Zealand.

From here we hit up the main event, Cathedral Cove and Hahei Beach.  We had two options here; you could either walk up and down 2 hills and see Cathedral Cove up close or see it from above and take a leisurely walk down to Hahei Beach.  I choose the latter (and the people who did walk down to CC regretted their decision).  It was so beautiful, and we had the absolute perfect day for a stroll along the beach.  Fun fact, CC was where Prince Caspian was filmed.

Our final stop before heading back to Auckland was Hot Water Beach. There is a thermal spring under the beach, so what happens here is that people ignore the actual lovely beach that is readily available and during low tide, they’ll dig little tubs in the mud and create their own hot tub.

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