After a good sleep in Rotorua and a leisurely breakfast with our lovely host, it was time to hit the road again and continue our North Island road trip. We first had a look at the weirdest park we had ever seen, Kuirau Park. It’s a public park in town with lots of geothermal activity. Small, extremely hot, pools are steaming away everywhere. Though it seems a safe place, it’s important to be careful as eruptions can happen at any time! We also had a look around Sulphur Point. A very beautiful and interesting landscape along the lake. And everywhere around was the unmistakable “rotten egg” smell.
From Rotorua to the Coromandel Peninsula
Because we were running out of road trip days, we left Rotorua and started our journey to Coromandel Peninsula. It was quite a drive. When we finally drove into Coromandel it surprised us with beautiful rain forest and mountains. By the time we arrived at the campsite at Hot Water Beach it was dark and I was tired. Even cask wine and cheap cheddar cheese tasted great. The reason we came to Hot Water Beach was, of course, to sit in hot water. Under the sand of this particular beach are hot springs and the water comes up through the sand. Within the two hours either side of low tide, you can dig a hole in the sand which will then fill up with hot water, creating your very own hot water pool. At the reception of the campsite we found out low tide was at 8.30AM the next morning so we went to bed early and got up at 6.30AM. When we got to the beach it was still quiet. We had borrowed a spade from the campsite and started digging. Hot water instantly came up through the sand. Some parts of the sand were even too hot to stand on! After about half an hour our hole was big enough to sit and relax in. What a wonderful experience. It was quite cold and grey and a fresh drizzle cooled our faces, but the water was so warm that it was perfect. And looking out over the ocean from that warm bath was very special. We spent a few hours at the beach before it was time to shower off the sand and leave the campsite.
From Hot Water Beach we drove to Cathedral Cove, a rock formation by the beach. After a bit of a walk from the car park we arrived. It was amazing! I think I have to call this the most beautiful beach I have ever seen! White sand, turquoise water and amazing rock formations, paradise. The weather was gorgeous so it was hard to leave but we had to get to Coromandel Town that day. Don’t believe anyone who says New Zealand’s North Island is not beautiful! Near Coromandel Town we found a hostel that had some sites for tents where we ended up staying. It was a lovely place with fruit trees and flowers around and we sat down in the garden with a bottle of bubbles, now that felt like a honeymoon!
The next day it was unfortunately time to head down towards Auckland already. We drove the beautiful, windy coastal road to Thames. This would be our last night of camping on this road trip and we decided to do it DOC style again, no facilities. It was a great choice because I really wanted to see something of the beautiful forest in Coromandel so at least we got a little taste of it. The drive into the Coromandel Forest Park was beautiful and we still had some time to explore around the campsite. We were the only people there that night, which always feels a bit weird to me, there in the forest with nothing and no one else around.
The end of our North Island adventure
That morning was different than the other mornings, this was the end of our North Island road trip and the end of our New Zealand adventure… And even though we did not want to live in New Zealand anymore, travelling this beautiful country had been so amazing. The South Island as well as the North Island. Every day again, full of surprises, different landscapes, views, colours, shapes. It was hard to leave.
That day we drove to Auckland, cleaned our tent and packed our bags, dropped of the car and then spent 12 hours at the airport waiting for our flight. To Sydney!
Thank you New Zealand
Thank you, New Zealand, for all the beautiful adventures we got to experience and share through our photo’s and video’s. It’s been a pleasure!
Check out our last T&T Ramble New Zealand video here