Highway 25 changes its face completely once it turns away from the seaside into Coromandels inland. The steep dark structures of the Coromandel Ranges come into view and the Highway fights its way through the bush in endless winding ups and downs. Strong stomach recommended!
The scenic lookouts along the way are amazing. Over the tips of the green hills there is always a bit of ocean to see.
Coming to the east coast we had a detour to Whangapoua and a short, pleasant walk to New Chums beach, supposedly one of the most beautiful beaches in New Zealand. It stays true to its reputation: golden sand, turquoise waters, surrounded by old trees and fascinating rock formations. It stretches for quite long and there where not that many people there. A beautiful place to have a rest!
Our next stop where two of the main tourist attractions of the North Island.
Cathedral Cove is just five minutes drive and ca. 30 minutes walk away from Hahei. It was quite crowded when we got there, so we didn't have more than a short look and a few quick shots (and some feet might have gotten into the water).
It is really maybe the most beautiful beach, if it weren't for all the tourists. The Cove itself is a big hole in the rock that indeed could be interpreted as the shape of a cathedral, but it doesn't have its name only because of the appearance: there have been plenty of marriages in this place.
The water has the most beautiful colour and the rocks are almost white. We will try to come back later next year to enjoy the view without all the people and boats around.
Just a bit south of Cathedral Cove is Hot Water Beach. It lies above a geothermal spring and around low tide you can grab a spade, dig a hole and have your own natural spa pool. I had a nice day on the beach but skipped the hot pool part – the thermal area is not that big and three hours before low tide there was already a hole in every possible spot, no square metre left. So I had a swim instead – it was far too hot for a hot bath anyway. :)
|Sammy was quite dirty after our gravel road tours...|