What began as a rainy morning in Auckland turned into bright sunshine towards the afternoon when we drove east towards Coromandel peninsula (apparently Melbourne is not the only place where you can have four seasons in a day).
It seems we were indeed really lucky with the weather, because our next campground at Hot Water Beach had been flooded the night before and we had to drive a partially flooded road to get there. When we finally arrived, the nicest camp spots next to a small river were all still empty (probably because the previous occupants half drowned the night before) and we found a really nice place for the next few days!
Hot Water Beach itself is one of the “must-see” attractions of New Zealand, where a small stretch of beach turns into a natural hot spa during low tide. Since we unfortunately were there during peak holiday season the car parks and streets around Hot Water Beach were absolutely packed with cars during daytime. Imagine hundreds of tourists digging shallow holes in the tidal area until hot water from underground springs starts bubbling up. Instead of joining the daytime crowds we waited for low tide at night and walked to the beach with glow worms illuminating the path. Sitting in a hot pool on the beach at midnight watching the stars was really something to remember!
Coromandel is also quite famous for its green lipped mussels and what better place to try them than Mussel Kitchen, where you can chose your lunch between mussels, mussels and … mussels 🙂
On our last day on the Coromandel peninsula we hiked to Cathedral Cove, one of the other great attractions of the region. Don’t be fooled by the pictures! What looks like a deserted beach at the end of a one hour walk in all the tourist brochures was busy with hundreds of tourists when we got there! It was quite a challenge waiting for the split second when no-one else was in the frame …