Whirlwind trip to Coromandel Coast

Reply

Nov 22nd, 2018, 04:32 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,879
Whirlwind trip to Coromandel Coast

My Uncle died recently, his funeral was in Paeroa, about an hour from Hamilton. We had flown to Hamilton 6 weeks before to attend my Aunts funeral, ( they had been married 71 years and died within 6 weeks of each other). This time we decided to spend a few more days in the area and visit the Coromandel coast ending up at Paeroa three days later. We did 1685km and really didn't spend a lot of time at any of the tourist spots, we will definitely have to go back and do a more leisurely trip.

We have a van in Wellington at my son's place, we use it when we go and visit our grandchildren. Holds all 6 of us plus the dog! The first day DH and I drove from Wellington to Rotorua, about a 5 1/2 hour trip. Although this is long, the drive through the Desert Road is worth doing at least once. We stopped at Huntersville for a coffee/tea around 11am. This is like a lot of other small towns everywhere, a lot of shops all on the main street.

Desert Road is a bit of an anomaly, as in fact you are not driving through a desert but driving into a mountainous area, which is surrounded by three active volcanoes. However due to previous volcanic eruptions the soil is of poor quality and nothing but tussock seems to grow there. We got some great views of the mountains while we were sitting waiting for road works to let us through.

Desert Road.


We did end up with a stone chip in our windscreen which we got fixed at Lake Taupo. We stopped at Lake Taupo for lunch. I loved our stop here, and would have liked to have spent a few more days here. Views of the lake are just gorgeous, and it was a beautiful day when we were there.
nelsonian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 22nd, 2018, 04:48 PM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,879
We had a longer break in Taupo than we anticipated trying to find a glass place that would fix the windscreen. On the third try we got lucky, and it took about 30 minutes, all covered by insurance which was good. We were planning on staying at Rotorua that night, fortunately it was only an hour or so drive from Taupo. I don't think the GPS took us on the main highway, but it was a very pleasant drive through farmland, a lot of dairy farms in this area. We arrived at BK Rotorua Motor Lodge at 5pm. This was a cheap motel, but we were planning on leaving again early the next morning so wasn't too worried about the standard. It was comfortable enough, and close to the supermarket and the main street. We had a disabled unit, not sure why the manager said I must have chosen the room when I booked on Hotels.com. I don't think I did but didn't challenge her about that. The bathroom area wasn't that clean so was glad we were not staying longer.

We did a quick trip down to the lake, and was very interested in the large hand carved waka that was on display there. A beautifully carved canoe. There were also a lot of geese wandering around on the park, so had to watch where you were walking otherwise you ended up stepping in goose droppings. A horrible feeling, I know cause I did it! We had been to Rotorua before so did not plan on doing any of the tourist activities, but there are tons of things to do if you had the time. The sulphur smell did not seem as bad as previous years either. For those of you that don't know Rotorua is in a geo-thermal area so there are a lot of thermal pools you are allowed to use. There is a lot of tourism showing Maori culture, hang's etc.
nelsonian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2018, 10:29 AM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,879
There was a next day report, but it disappeared when I went to post, something about not being allowed to be logged in twice. I didn't save it so will have to re-write it some time.
nelsonian is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 23rd, 2018, 03:51 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 1,690
Lovely photo. Is that Mount Ngauruhoe?

Condolences for the loss of your uncle and aunt. Sounds like they had a happy life together: married for 71 years, and loving relatives to mourn their passing.
Diamantina is offline  
Reply With Quote
Nov 25th, 2018, 06:16 PM
  #5
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7,879
Day Two. We were planning on staying the next two nights at Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula, I wanted to go via Tauranga and Mt Manganui as it has been many years since I had been there. It was just over an hours drive from Rotorua to Tauranga and then another hour and a half to Whitianga, so not a long driving day.

The road from Rotorua to Tauranga was a bit twisty as were a lot of the roads on our trip. A typical NZ road, one lane each side highways, and windy and twisty. Being a Wednesday morning in an off peak time there was not a lot of traffic. There were some logging trucks, and trucks carting livestock but they tended to pull over when there were passing lanes. There was a lot of passing lanes so traffic didn’t block up too much. A different story in peak season though.

We arrived on the outskirts of Tauranga about 10.45 and then being the cheapskates were are tried to find our way into the CBD without using the toll road. That was a bit of a mistake, went around in circles for a little bit before we finally figured out where we wanted to go. It doesn’t help that the GPS keeps telling you to go in the other direction.

We carried onto Mt Manganui as we had never been there before. It is only 5 minutes further on than Tauranga. This is a very popular tourist area in the summer. A very nice beach with lots of surfing, paddle boarding etc, a beautiful climate. The Mount which is more of a small hill, has a walking track to the top which is very popular. You may want to avoid this area when there is a cruise ship is in port as the place can get a bit overrun. A lot of the passengers do take the bus to Rotorua but others take the opportunity to explore the area. We did a small walk on the beach, again didn’t spend a lot of time here, but will make sure to do so in future.

We headed off to Whitianga on State Highway 25, which is known as the Pacific Coastal Highway. I thought that we would be driving along the coast line as you are when you are driving down the South Island along the Kaikoura Coast but was not to be which was a bit disappointing. The majority of the time the sea views are blocked out by the native bush, i.e. ferns, and native trees. Beautiful in it;s own right but not was I was expecting We stopped for lunch in Waihi which is an old gold-mining town. There are various exhibits, in the town which show the history of the town, including a museum. Our lunch was not very memorable, there were two cafes in the town and I chose the wrong one!!

We passed several tourist attractions between Waihi and Whitinga but decided we would go and check into our hotel and then back-track to the beaches I wanted to look at. We arrived at Beach Side Resort about 3pm. It was a very nice unit, large lounge area, separate bedroom, and small kitchen area with a hot-plate, microwave, plates, cutlery, coffee maker etc. It also had a fantastic view of the beach from the lounge. The beach was immediately over the road, and the town itself was a five minute walk away.

After a cuppa, we hopped in the car again and went to a popular tourist attraction, and regarded as one of the best beaches in NZ, called HaHeu beach. Population triples in this little place over Christmas/New Year. Close to this beach is Cathedral Cove. This is a natural archway formed by rock erosion, it is approx an hours walk to get down to the archway. We didn’t have time to do this’ We went to the beginning of the track and walked a little way down but knew we wouldn’t get back in time to catch the last shuttle back to the township. As there is no parking down there, there is a Park and Ride where you park the car, and take a short shuttle ride to the start of the track. It runs about every 10 minutes, but the last one back was at 6pm. It was just after 5 when we were dropped off, so didn’t even attempt the walk to the Cove. There were a lot of people who had done it that day though. Again another thing we will have to go back and see properly.

Close by is another famous tourist attraction Hot Water beach. This was an amazing beach. Underneath the sand and sea there is are two underground hot water fissures, formed about 5 million years ago after a volcanic eruption. Within two hours of low tide it is possible to dig a hole in the sand which means you can lie in it and have a spa!! It does cost $ 10 to hire a spade, or you can buy one at HaHeu beach for $ 15. Being cheap we didn’t do either, but did walk down to where the hot springs were, and just used our feet to dig down into the sand, and could feel the hot water. It was very hot too, you couldn’t stand in one place for very long. We were there early evening and there were a lot of people arriving when we did. It is important to check the tide before you go. We only stayed there for about 30 minutes, if you were planning on doing this, I would allow two or three hours, and if you were doing Cathedral Cove as well, make a day of it.

We headed back to our motel and wandered down to the restaurant and cafes to look for something for dinner. We ended up taking fish and chips and a bottle of wine back to our unit and enjoyed our take-out sitting in the sun taking in the wonderful view.
nelsonian is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:28 AM.