20 January 2020 – the Coromandel Peninsula, Hahei and Cathedral Cove

After our late evening arrival to Hahei, and our impressive sunset walk on the beach (which was just 50m from our cottage at the Hahei Holiday Resort) we were looking forward to a couple of days of beach time and beautiful scenery. After 4 long days of riding the Hauraki Rail Trail, our legs were looking forward to a rest too!

Despite going to bed quite late, we were all up by 7.30am. Nevertheless we were enjoying a relaxed morning, where we didn’t need to pack up or be out on the bikes. After a lazy breakfast of eggs while watching nearby campers BBQ their breakfasts while we had a full kitchen, the kids voted for another beach visit.

We strolled off to the beach, and it was just as beautiful in the daylight as it had been at sunset the night before. Of course the height of New Zealand Summer isn’t what we are used to temperature wise in Australia, so we had warned the kids it wasn’t going to be warm but theyy didn’t care…..

Zinnia, has the same love for beaches as her older siblings and was having a wonderful time toddling on the beach and playing in the sand…….

The big kids were straight into digging and sandcastle making. The water was predictably freezing but it didn’t stop any of them going for a paddle, including Zinnia!

The water was on the cold side for me, but the kids weren’t going to admit it and were happy playing in the shallow waves and making sandcastles.

Hahei beach is absolutely one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve visited. The water is an amazing colour and the rocky outcrops are just stunning. I can see why the town is a tourist haven!

After a couple of hours of beach fun, we had to drag the kids away as Zinnia needed a nap and they were starting to get cold (despite their protests to the contrary). While Zinnia napped, Anto and the big kids wandered off to the local supermarket for supplies. As predicted, in such an isolated area, it was rather expensive. So we were glad we had brought some food with us from our post-riding supermarket dash in Thames. The kids did manage to find every playground and ice cream shop in the vicinity, just in case we needed to visit during our time in Hahei!

Astrid was especially tired after her mammoth 140km of riding, so she was sentenced to enforced resting while I took Zinnia and Soren for an explore around the holiday resort and beach. The views were pretty amazing but it was warm in the midday sun……

Anto fired up the BBQ for lunch with sausages, veggie patties and coleslaw. We were all feeling rather tired still so it was rest time for everyone while Zinnia had her afternoon nap. At this stage you are probably thinking this is the most laying around sleeping we’ve ever done on holidays. Well, it didn’t last because we had planned a hike to Cathedral Cove for the day, but wisely decided doing it out of the midday sun and after resting was the way to go.

After Zinnia voted she was done with sleep after an hour, we figured we’d better get organised for our hike. You can only get to Cathedral Cove on foot and the nearest car park isn’t too far from where we were staying, so we were happy to walk from our accommodation.

At 4.30pm we headed off, down the beach from the exit near our cottage. It was still warm out but the views hadn’t diminished……

After a slow but scenic trudge along the beach though very soft sand we made it to the stairs and start of the walkway to Cathedral Cove. The walk was meant to be 2.5km (return) from this point but was listed as taking 1.5 hours plus an extra hour for the beach section. We generally manage walks, even with kids in tow, in less than the recommended time. However, this was a particularly steep walk with plenty of stairs so it wasn’t going to be fast.

Zinnia had decided that she wanted to be in the ergo on me rather than Anto, so I got the pleasure of all the stairs with her additional weight. The first section out of the beach was probably the steepest and also involved picking our way through tree roots…. but the views were amazing from the start.

There were plenty of people out on the track, including quite a few other children. Curiously we saw more than a handful of tourists in very inappropriate shoes (high heels) and rather dressed up for a long hike, but there were plenty of signs all along the track advising of distances and times so they should have known. We were very glad we’d delayed our walk until late afternoon as it was still rather warm out especially with Zinnia in the ergo.

There was plenty of spectacular views as we worked our way up and up. The colour of the ocean was amazing and you could see for miles!

The second half of the walk was flatter and easier on the legs and then finally it was time to head down into the cove. Via some very steep stairs!

We finally made it to the cove at 5.50pm and the small area of beach was quite busy with tourists swimming and enjoying the scenery. It was straight over to the arch to get those iconic views and pictures!

The beach and surf are quite rough so while the kids were keen for a swim, we were keeping a very close eye on them, especially with the tide coming in. Like always, it was lovely being in a place you’ve seen in photographs many times. While the views were pretty amazing we thought the walk to get there was probably still the best part of the experience.

The cold water didn’t stop the kids frolicking in the shallows. We weren’t keen to let them go any further with the tide coming in and rough sea but they got happily soaked and had a ball, especially Zinnia, who was pretending not to be cold!

With time marching on and a reasonable walk back, we dragged the kids away from the surf (yet again) and got them changed for the hike back out of the cove.

The problem with beaches (even beautiful ones) is being wet and sandy, and when the walk back is long it isn’t fun. Luckily it was a little cooler on the way back and the views were just as good in the opposite direction. We made pretty good time, with the kids overtaking many adults along the way!

It was definitely one of the most scenic hikes we’ve done and the kids didn’t really complain despite their tired legs from all the riding. They were rather keen on a promised ice cream on the way back though!

On the return journey we saw quite a few wild goats, plenty of silver ferns and an array of interesting birds, so there was no shortage of things to look at! Miss Zinnia decided to have another nap, enjoying her ergo time.

We made it back to the edge of Hahei town around 7pm and got the kids their promised icecream for the walk back through town to our cottage. We were rather hot and sweaty so the probably earned the icecream!

We’d decided that dinner was to be a beach picnic, and with views like this, why not

We enjoyed sandwiches on the beach as we watched the sun go down. The sandwiches lived up to their name, having a bit of extra sand, courtesy of the kids but it was pretty fun anyway.

They finished their food in record time and wanted yet another play in the water as the sun set. Their was plenty of jumping and dancing. Astrid as usual managed to be wearing her cat ears, just to add to the places she’s been photographed wearing them!

At almost 9pm we had to drag them back to the cottage or they probably would have slept at the beach. Beach dinner picnics were a hit!

Unfortunately there had been power outages in the resort on and off all afternoon, so when we got back there was still no power. This meant no hot water and getting ready for bed by torchlight while still sweaty and sandy. The power eventually came back and manged to stay on just after the kids went to sleep, so at least the adults eventually got hot showers, but aside from that one annoyance it had been a pretty good and scenic day.

Daily Statistics for Monday 20 January, 2020 in Hahei, New Zealand

The temperature range for the day was a very pleasant 15 to 27 degrees. It was still on the warm side for hiking but otherwise a perfect Summer’s day.

Our total walking for the day was 13.5km (and the kids did all of that!). That total included our 6.1km return hike to Cathedral Cove, via Hahei Beach. The hike included a reasonable amount of elevation, with a total elevation gain of 277m. Our moving time was 1 hour and 36 minutes, a pretty good effort for little legs and lugging a Zinnia!

Up next….

We had another full day in the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula. We made the best of it with a visit to the famous Hot Water Beach, where you dig your own hot water spas. We also took a scenic trip to Ferry Landing and took the ferry over to Whitianga. There was also more time at beautiful Hahei beach!

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