Hello travel bugs! I am sitting here wishing winter would be gone already and dreaming of summer beaches. Since I am trying to think warm thoughts, I decided that I would share a bit about our beach time in the Coromandel. We actually didn’t go in the summer, but in comparison to the windy Wellington Spring, it might as well have been.
We drove up to the Coromandel region from Wellington while the kids were on Spring Break or School Holiday as they call it. We rented an airbnb in Whitianga for a few days. Whitianga is a cute little beach town with a great location. We could not have asked for a better place. Our condo was right across the street from the beach and just a short drive into the center of town. My husband and I really enjoyed the beautiful view from our back porch and the kids enjoyed the pool. I love this photo from the porch. You can barely distinguish between the water and the sky.
We spent one whole day of our time in the Coromandel just exploring the beaches. Our 2 must sees were Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove. They are roughly a 5 minute drive from each other so we were easily able to see them both in one day, spending adequate time enjoying both.
Hot Water Beach in an experience unlike any other. There is a hot spring that runs under the beach and there is a four hour window (2 hours either side of low tide) when you can dig into the sand to access the hot water. You can bring your own shovel or rent one at one of the cafes near the car park closest to the beach. There’s plenty of other nearby parking if the main park is full. It is a short walk through the sand to the hot water area of the beach and the rest of the beach is actually really lovely too with Pohutukawa trees lining the cliffs behind.
There are a few things that you should know before you go. First, it gets crowded and you may have to share your “spa” with many other people. But, this is also a neat opportunity to meet people from all over the world. We met people from 4 different countries at Hot Water Beach and it wasn’t even the busy season. Second, the water is HOT. They weren’t joking when they named it Hot Water Beach. We chose to dig a bit closer to the surf so that we could cool down our pool a little. The kids actually refused to step in until it had cooled down some. Third, the surf is really rough! We didn’t even let the kids put their toes in because it was so violent the day we were there. Some information that I’ve read about the beach says that there is a swimming area, but I didn’t see one. Even if I had, I probably wouldn’t have gone in myself even though I’m a strong swimmer.
We had a fantastic time at Hot Water Beach enjoying the the beautiful location and hot water on a cloudy, cool morning.
In the afternoon, we drove over to Cathedral Cove. It had warmed up a bit by then and we were happy to shed our hoodies on the hike from the car park down to the beach. It’s a bit of a walk, but part of the path is paved and the rest isn’t too tough besides a couple of short, steep sections. There are some wooden stairs that go down from the path to the beach and once you are on the beach, it is relatively flat and level. The walk has some beautiful views.
Once you reach Cathedral Cove, it feels like something out of a movie. I can’t decide if it is a pirate movie or a shipwrecked in paradise movie though. In the cove part (on the path & stairs side) is a beautiful beach with wave carved rock formations, cliffs, and a waterfall. It is really something to behold. The “cathedral” is impressive in and of itself. Its size and the vaulted “ceiling” are really impressive. And there are small grottos that the kids enjoyed tucking into. Once you walk through to the other side (at lower tides) there is a long beach that you can walk and explore.
I could see myself spending an entire day there enjoying the sunshine and cooling off in the waterfall when I got too hot. The kids and my husband were brave enough to run through it at the time, but it was still a little too cold for my taste in September. There is plenty of space to spread out at the cove, but I can imagine that it gets pretty busy in the summer. The kids had fun running around, splashing in the surf, climbing, and playing in the grottos.
The kids didn’t want to leave. To be honest, neither did I. We really enjoyed our day at the beaches of the Coromandel. Let me know if you have any other awesome beaches in Coromandel that we missed. I’d love for my other readers to be able to see those too.