A weekend on the Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Labour Weekend 2016
We decided to be tourist’s today and headed up the coast to Hahei – home of Cathedral Cove, Hot Water Beach and the Hahei Marine Reserve.
From Tirau it was a short drive of 20 minutes along a slightly windy road – we did make one stop on the way at the Colenso Café which was a recommendation from my friend Michelle.
Definitely worth a stop with good quality seasonal food, freshly made with ingredients from local growers; Colenso is one of the Coromandel Peninsula’s best known establishments with its shop, garden and mandarin orchard. Take a wander around the grounds and you will not only see that pigs do fly! But the fresh garnishes on the delicious food served comes from the café’s own gardens.
Hahei is known for the many fun activities you can do that are water-based like scenic adventure boats trips, sea kayaking, scuba diving and snorkelling. The beaches are just gorgeous with soft white sand and clear clean water – you could be forgiven for thinking you were on an island from some Hollywood movie scene!
We had picked up a brochure about the ‘Hahei Explorer’ at our rented holiday house – you can find more information on this at the website: Hahei Explorer
The tour is an hour-long and takes you along the volcanic coastline including the world-famous Cathedral Cove; having never done something like this before we decided it looked like fun! The ‘chief tester’ has missed his JetSki which was stolen a couple of summers ago and not replaced. This boat trip was a real treat for him and he only mentioned how great it would be to do this if he had his JetSki maybe 3 or 4 times?
Anyway we met the boat at the south end of Hahei Beach and boarded the flexi-haul vessel which could take up to 10 people. We were given life-jackets and introduced to the skipper as we climbed aboard. Today was our lucky day as there was just the two of us with the skipper!
Within minutes we came across a little blue penguin and were able to get quite close to it before we headed around the coast to Champagne Bay which was just stunning. We ventured through a sea cave underground into a huge rock cylinder 80 feet high – an amazing blowhole!
The skipper had a great knowledge of the local area and its history of Maori encampments and sacred burial grounds of the chiefs of the Iwi. He chatted throughout the trip pointing out areas of interest and explaining the volcanic nature of the coast.
Across the bay to Whale Cave and then to Cathedral Cove which despite it being week day was populated with holiday-makers taking in the beautiful scenery – some even swimming!
The trip took an hour and was just great. At different times of the year you would see whales and dolphins – today we took in schools of snapper swimming around the boat – tempting for any fisherman 🙂 Labour Weekend is the beginning of the summer weather and not as busy as later in the year; even so we did have to book ahead so if you are keen on a boat tour make sure you call up and book early.
The ‘chief tester’ and I headed back to Tairua a little windswept and slightly sun-kissed – and reflected on how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful country.
Life Lesson from today? – take the time to visit your own backyard before heading off overseas – there is much to see and do in New Zealand!
Happy travels xx