21 January 2020 – the Coromandel Peninsula, Hot Water Beach, Hahei and Whitianga

It was 8 nights into our holiday and the first night Miss Zinnia managed to sleep in her cot all night. Note, she woke up plenty but did not take over our bed! With another full day in Hahei and the Coromandel ahead, we enjoyed a relaxing morning with no rushing around, and a breakfast of eggs in our comfy cottage with views of the nearby campers BBQing their breakfasts.

Our morning activity was a visit to the world-famous Hot Water Beach. You need to be there for low tide, so we’d planned our morning around the tide timings. The second low tide of the day was well into the evening, so not ideal for the kids (although apparently an amazing experence). Hot Water Beach is a 9km drive from Hahei, a short but scencic drive from our accommodation.

We arrived about 10am and there were cars and motorhomes lining the nearby streets, as it is one of the must-do activities for the area. We finally got a park a fair up the hill from the beach, but the views were pretty good, even if lugging Zinnia down the beach without the ergo wasn’t!

We got our digging spades and headed down the beach. The thermal spring only runs through a small area so that area of the beach is exceptionally crowded.

We found a patch of sand next to another family who already had their thermal pool built…. and we and started digging. Our area had mostly cool water running through it, whereas our neighbours had very hot water. This allowed us to combine the different temperature water by building dams with sand ‘taps’ to let the water between one area and another to achieve the correct temperature.

Zinnia was confined to a much cooler area of the pool but was having an absolute ball, sitting in the water digging and splashing. The really hot water was indeed close to boiling so you had to be careful with where you dug and how much hot water you let in.

Anto, Astrid and Soren were busy using their engineering skills to come up with the best thermal pool and dam arrangement. Just when they had it all working perfectly, the incoming tide would wash bits of the walls away and add extra cold water so adjustments were constantly being made!

Hot Water Beach is best 2 hours either side of low tide, and we got there a half hour after low tide, so within an hour or dams were getting washed away every now and then which required more digging (of course between bouts of relaxing in the warm water). Zinnia would get the occasional dunking by an incoming wave but didn’t seem overly concerned as we’d constantly fish her out of the sand and water.

Everyone was absolutely filthy from the black sand but the kids were having a ball so we weren’t overly worried.

There were signs up where the very hot water was running and you could see the steam coming off it and it bubbling on the surface. You did have to be careful but our little section was quite easy to manage the hot and cold. .

The kids would have stayed all day and thoroughly enjoyed playing with other families and digging together, but as the tide came in it was getting more tedious redigging the pools every time. Zinnia was also well over due for a rest so about 11.15am we reluctantly dragged the kids away, filthy but happy, and headed back to the car and Hahei.

After a sand decontamination back at the cottage, I took the big kids for an adventure while Zinnia napped. They had been busting to go and play on the rope swings overlooking the beach, so off we went. It turns out I shouldn’t have bothered cleaning off the black sand from Hot Water Beach as the sand and dirt around the rope swings was just as bad and they were immediately filthy again!

The rope swings have an amazing view out to the rocky outcrops and are a fun activity for the kids, if utterly terrifying for parents as the drop below the swings onto the sand isn’t small as they swing out. After some instruction by older kids, both Astrid and Soren were off and having a ball…

After working up an appetite swinging, Zinnia was up from her nap and it was time for lunch. It was burgers from the food van near our cottage, and again they were delicious.

We thought we’d take advantage of the lovely weather and spend our last afternoon in Hahei exploring a little more of the Coromandel. We took a drive to Ferry Landing (aptly named because that is where the Ferry is located) to catch the ferry over to Whitianga. You can drive to Whitianga, but it’s a 35 minute winding drive around the peninsula. Via Ferry Landing it’s 15 minutes drive from Hahei and then the ferry across. We figured the kids would enjoy the ferry crossing so we set off for Ferry Landing.

The drive to Ferry Landing was another scenic oneb and when we arrived at Ferry Landing there was more beautiful aqua coloured water and another pretty (and tiny coastal town).

The walk down to the ferry from the car park was short and the ferry goes, at most, 200m from the dock straight across to the opposite shore which is Whitianga. Astrid commented that she could easily swim it, a tempting proposition on a warm day! Instead we purchased ferry tickets and hopped aboard for the approximately 4 minute chug across the narrow inlet.

The water was amazingly clear and on a warm day a dip was almost tempting!

Whitianga is the biggest town in the area, so aside from a wander around to check out the parks and shops we thought we’d pick up some cheaper supermarket supplies, as the only supermarket in Hahei is rather pricey!

After success at the supermarket (it was definitely a lot cheaper in Whitianga) and a quick walk through a very hot and unshaded park we sat by the very scenic marina to eat our icecreams purchased in the supermarket. Zinnia and the big kids weren’t complaining about icecream on a hot day with a lovely view……

There were plenty of locals and tourists out fishing off the wharf and having swims in the crystal clear water. After we were full of icecream, and getting rather hot in the sun, we decided we’d better catch the next ferry back to Ferry Landing.

The ferry back across was equally as short and scenic as the way over. It was back up the hill to our car and some welcome aircon. The drive back took us past the scenic views of Flaxmill Bay and we took a quick detour to the Mercury Bay winery that we had spied on our drive down to Ferry Landing.

It was unfortunately too late in the afternoon for tastings, but the staff let us sample a couple wines before making our purchases. The winery had a tasty looking restaurant, with magnificent views, but alas it was too early for dinner and too late for lunch, so we stuck with the wine and headed back Hahei.

Once back at the cottage we hoped that a very tired Zinnia would have a nap but alas she then refused to sleep! Anto had taken the big kids to play on the rope swings again to give her some quiet but she must have heard about it and didn’t want to miss the fun……

We had decided on a BBQ dinner in the cottage, and after several late nights in a row, managed to get all the kids in bed well before 8pm! They may have been tired from another big day of sun and ocean.

I took advantage of the late sunset in this part of the world in mid-Summer, and headed to the beach to watch the sun go down. It was another beautiful sunset on Hahei beach…..

There is never any shortage of people out enjoying the beach, even at well past 9pm! It had been a wonderful few days in Hahei, and I was sad we had to leave the next day. We had originally planned 4 days here but had no luck with getting accommodation anywhere for the following night, so alas this was our last Coromandel sunset before heading back down the coast to Waihi Beach, Bowentown and Mt Maunganui. We definitely have the Coromandel on the list for a future visit, so many beautiful places and lovely walks we didn’t quite get to!

Daily statistics for Tuesday the 21st of January, 2020 in Hahei, New Zealand

The temperature range for the day was a very pleasant 15 to 23 degrees Celsius. Our total walking for the day was 7.8km.

We travelled by car to both nearby Hot Water Beach in the morning and then North to Ferry Landing in the afternoon. Our total driving for the day was 45km. Here is a map of our adventures.

Up next……..

We bid farewell to beautiful Hahei and head down the coast via the very scenic Waihi Beach and Bowentown before our next stop in Mt Maunganui.

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