Today we finally experienced a taste of New Zealand’s natural beauty. We drove 3hrs from Auckland to the Coromandel Peninsula in search of the infamous Hot Water Beach. Along the way we saw beautiful flowing hills filled with sheep and cattle grazing then twisted up the tropical mountains along the edge of cliffs with breathtaking views that could rival the Cabot Trail.

Rolling sheep filled hills in the countryside 

P.S. Mom I wasn’t driving this fast in real life, Jordan sped up the video 🙂 After making that many hair pinned turns I was pretty comfortable with the whole driving on the left hand side thing.

We reached the Hot Water Beach and sprinted to the shore to see this famous phenomenon. Lava under the surface heat water reserves that bubble up to the surface, heating up the sand to scalding temperatures. People flock to this beach with shovels and pales in hand to dig themselves a personal hot tub in the sand.

Jordan and I chose to dig ours by hand as it was much more fun and fulfilling than using a rented shovel. Within a few minutes we had a steaming oasis where we laid in the pool and enjoyed the crisp Spring day. We actually picked the perfect spot as one side seeped scalding hot lava water, while the other cool ocean water, creating the perfect blend. We even sprinted into the ocean for a cool down before jumping back into our hot pool similar to the winter hot tub ritual at the Poste’s.

Enjoying our personal salt water hot tub at Hot Water Beach 

After enjoying a few hours of heated sand bliss, we were off to Cathedral Cove just a few kilometers down the road in Hahei. Famous for its large naturally formed rock cathedral, the hike into the cove curved through the rainforest before dropping us into a beautiful cove. It felt like we were in the movie The Beach!

Cathedral Cove
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 A beautiful secluded beach, we had the place to ourselves as we walked along the sand and enjoyed a taste of pristine beauty!
Cathedral Cove archway 
That night we decided to camp at the Hahei beachside campground. Since it’s still early in the season, the campground, and the town was very quiet. While Jordan set up the tent, I decided to go find us some dinner. Unfortunately, it appears everything (even the convenience store) closes after 6pm, except a hotel restaurant, called The Church, however they refused to serve me ‘take away’. Luckily we had grabbed a few snacks earlier in the day, so we resorted to eating bananas, granola bars, and left over (slightly mouldy) bread. Lesson learned that you can’t expect there to be restaurants available in small towns – so ALWAYS pack enough snacks!
First night camping


Check out Episode 4: Departure, Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach