Coromandel Peninsula – a bit off the beaten track and beautiful!
If you want to explore pristine beaches in New Zealand then Coromandel might be a great visit for you. From Thames we started our anti-clockwise journey around the peninsula. At least that was our plan. After 45 minutes we arrived in Tairua which was so beautiful that we decided to stay overnight immediately. At and around the harbour are the only places where you are allowed to stay overnight, but only for “self-contained” vehicles.
The Euro Campers vehicles are all self-contained so we where able to sleep right at the water front. Tairua was a place so nice, that we decided to come back next year and skip our yearly Bay of Islands vacation. From Tairuawe went further northwards and made our way up to Whitianga. 30 kilometres after Tairua we stopped, our son (Steven) took a shovel and dug a hole in the sand right at the beach. What makes it special is the geothermal activity causing the water which gathers in the holes to get warm. In a short while we had a self-made hot pool at the beach. Always check the temperature before you jump in, it might get pretty hot at times. The beach is called Hot Water Beach and there are lots of signs to lead tourists in the right direction.
And then we found our personal highlight (not permitted for children under 14 years). (image here)
The local farmer Alan heard that there used to be a hot spring on his property and started drilling to find out more. After two unsuccessful attempts he found it – hot water ascending out of 600m depth. He built a jungle, artificial volcano and a grot. That’s the story of “The Lost Spring”, a pretty special hot spring. (www.thelostspring.co.nz)
After spending some quality time in Whitianga we headed northwards to Koautuna. When arriving in Koautuna it is worth taking a right immediately. You get to a nice restaurant and the amazing beaches of Opito Bay. It is a scenic bay where you can swim, surf and especially in the mornings you might see some dolphins as well. After a day at the beach we went to the Coromandel Township, a small but charming village. There was a potter from Auckland who escaped the busy city to start his own pottery. He was also crazy about locomotives and build his own railway. His business worked well and he gave tourists rides. This small train ride is now a tourist attraction and still runs to this day. You can find out more here: (http://drivingcreekrailway.co.nz/)