After an interesting night back in Auckland which involved watching a very weird independent Kiwi film and then looking on as two grown men snorted Tabasco and Jack Daniels through their noses and having lemon squeezed into their eyes all in aid of winning a $100 tattoo, we headed off out of town towards Hot Water Beach. Stopping off at the Kiwi Experience office to finalise the rest of our trip, our little group of friends made sure that we had the same itinerary so that we could stay together as long as possible.
Heading south towards the Coromandel we travelled through some stunning scenery. With the rolling green hills and sheep and cows in the fields you could be forgiven for thinking you were in the English countryside. Arriving in Hot Water Beach in the afternoon we had little time to check into our 5 star cabins for the night before going down to the beach to kayak round to Cathedral Cove. In our pairs we were pushed off from the shore and out into the ocean navigating some large waves whilst trying to get to grips with the paddling techniques. Once we had mastered this we rowed parallel to the shoreline taking in white sandy beaches and magnificent rock formations. As we arrived at Cathedral Cove and headed towards the beach a huge wave carried Beth and I in towards dry land and we disembarked a little more wet than when we had set out, partly from the waves and partly from splashing ourselves with our oars. Setting up on the beach our guides set about making up some much needed hot chocolate as we wandered along the beach and through the caves. Having warmed up we then set off out to sea again towards an outcrop where we snaked through the sea caves. Lining up our kayaks in a row our guides erected a sail and we drifted back to shore as they told us stories of how New Zealand was discovered by the Maori people.
Next stop was Hot Water Beach, rated by the Lonely Planet as one of the world’s top 10. Here, at low tide, you can dig your own hot water pool in the sand. As you dig down, water seeps through which has been heated up by warm geothermal springs under the sand. You had to be careful where you decided to dig your hole though, as the water temperature varies greatly across the beach and can get very very hot.