After a great trip around the Northland we still had plenty of time to do some more exploring before heading back to Auckland for Christmas.
So, off we headed to the Coramandel Peninsula. Very pretty with lots of the Pohutukawa trees lining the road, the kiwis refer to these as their 'Christmas Trees' because when they flower the flowers are red and they do this around Christmas time!
We stayed at a holiday park in Thames after almost a full day of driving. We try our best to avoid Holiday Parks as they are expensive but sometimes you don't have a choice! Having a hot shower and kitchen facilities is always a treat too. Thames is a fairly old mining town. We didn't hang about here the next morning and headed up to Hot Water Beach. Popular for the fascinating hot water pools that can be found in a certain spot on this beach. When we got there there was already haudes of people digging holes to try and find the hot water, some were even already in their personally dug out hot pools! We hired a shovel which seemed to be the thing to do and got to it! We were soon let into a secret that there's only a certain, quite small spot that the hot water can be found. This sadly meant all these people digging around us were not going to have much luck if they kept digging all day! We jumped into the spot once it was freed up and oh my the water was literally boiling- you couldn't even stand in it! We dug out a little pool to paddle is as once its surfaced for while it does cool down. It was quite funny to watch the new people come over to have a look and end up hopping away with burning feet!
Cathedral Cove was next on our list, a must see if you visit the Coramandel. Its name comes from the dramatic formation of the famous cove shape in the rock. It is a secluded beach that has been preserved as area of natural beauty and has not been commercialised at all- there are not even any bins or picnic benches. You have to walk down a narrow path or kayak to it, you cannot drive. It was a cloudy breezy day when were there but it was still stunning with its white sand and clear waters. We walked a lovely half hour walk along the coast to it from Hahei Beach stopping at two other quiet idyllic bays along the way.