Just over two-hour’s drive from where I live is the renowned Coromandel Peninsula. It is a body of land that stretches up from the Waikato Region and is separated from Auckland by the Hauraki Gulf. It is known for its beaches and its forests. Crazily enough, I hadn’t been there before.
My boyfriend, Gershwyn, and I set off for this paradise at lunchtime on Friday and spent two glorious nights in the middle of a native forest – it was literally in the middle of a forest, we had to drive through a shallow stream after driving away from the main road and up a particularly narrow windy road for ages. There was no cellphone coverage. It was the middle of nowhere.
On our first morning, made our way to the Hot Water Beach – if you visit one hour either side of low tide then you can walk to the place where you can dig down to reveal volcanic heated water, wait for the waves to bring in the cold water – and you have your own ready made spa! We didn’t make it in time for the hot water, but it was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. With brilliant blues (the sky and the water) and a cave, what else would you want?
Our next stop was a 45-minute bush walk to Cathedral Cove. It was an amazing combination of beaches and forest. Gershwyn made me spend much time posing so that he could perfect the settings on the camera to capture (many) photos, which resulted in a lot of pictures of me with the oddest of facial expressions (I deleted the worst of them!). The end result was some amazing photos that we will cherish for years to come.
On the second day, we went to New Zealand’s “quirkiest theme park” The Water Works – it was a lot of fun!
We then carried on into the Coromandel Township and a little north to the Driving Creek Railway where we took the one-hour train ride up the hill through the forest. It was the most amazing experience, climbing up the hill in the little train to find the view of the gorgeous Hauraki Gulf. It was amazing to hear the mission of the owner to restore the forest and wildlife.
Driving home through the back roads along the coast it was hard not to feel sad at leaving this paradise behind. Two days exploring a beautiful, new area with my most favourite person and a forest on my doorstep was my idea of ecstasy. Leaving these things was the opposite.