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Day 3 - Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 31 October 2010 | Views [5381] | Comments [2]

Lounging in a home-made hot tub in the sand at Hot Water Beach

Lounging in a home-made hot tub in the sand at Hot Water Beach

Our kayaking trip to Cathedral Cove was canceled last night due to expected high morning winds, so we changed our plans and planned on heading out early to enjoy the thermal pools at Hot Water Beach.  Low tide was at 7:00, and for two hours on either side of low tide, hot water bubbles out of the sand on the beach.  We had to arrive early to get a prime spot so the alarm clock rang at 6:00 am and up we popped.  Arrived at the beach, spade in hand, at 6:30 and Vinnie began digging our "spa" hole.  It wasn't hard to figure out where to dig as the steam was rising heavily in the early morning cold.  We only had one other couple out there with us so it was a peaceful morning of soaking in the hot water.  What a great experience, the sun rising, the tide receding and us communing with nature J.  It really was a wonderful way to relax first thing!  We were joined by the crowds later in the morning and by 8ish we gave up our pool and headed back to the car.  Had a wonderful breakfast and conversations with our hosts after arriving back at our B&B.  


After eating we headed out on a trek to Cathedral Coves, about 3 miles away with our backpacks and a banana.  It was a good walk, lots of ascents and descents as we hit the various bays and coves along the way.  It was quite spectacular view in every direction (see pics).  We stopped on the way home for a coffee (they do have wonderful coffee here!) and an apple cake which was really yummy!  Hit the B&B, changed from our walking shorts and boots (always a great look) into something a bit warmer and drove to see the Macadamia farm down the way.  After the farm we drove down a tiny dirt road and found a cute little waterfall and a gaggle (?) of turkeys wandering about that we snapped shots of.  I've never seen so many wild turkeys in one place and the noise they were making was amazing!   We wandered from Hahei to Cooks Beach, which is the bay that Capt. Cook first saw New Zealand from.  It is a bit built up, probably about 2000 people, with homes spread out along the few main roads.


As an aside, the weather for our first three days has been fantastic.  Sunny, breezy, just cool enough to be able to walk vigorously without sweating a lot.

Oh yeah, our rental car is a six-year-old Nissan station wagon, which lived the first several years of its life in Japan.  The Japanese also drive on the left side of the road, so the steering wheel is in the correct place for NZ.  One minor annoyance is the turn signal is on the right side of the steering column, unlike the British cars where the turn signal in on the left like in the US.  Vinnie has turned on the wipers several times instead of signaling a turn.  The other thing is the nice screen display for the radio controls and heating/AC.  For about 5 seconds it comes on as universal pictograph icons, but if I hesitate at all, it turns to all Japanese text!

So far we've noticed that the homes in NZ resemble the homes in the US built in the 50's and 60's with a bit of modern touch to them.  It's interesting to see the towns and how different they are from European or the US.  Both Vinnie and I agree that the towns look like someone went to Central America, copied the small town architecture, then cleaned them up then gave them a few good coats of paint.  They are attractive, just very different from what we have at home.    A bit western and flat would sum them up nicely.  Of course, we've only seen a tiny bit of the country so far so this opinion could change at any time!


Anyway...after driving through Cooks Bay we headed to the ferry that would take us across the channel to Whitianga, another small town.  It took about 2 minutes to cross over, we wandered around the town and saw all there was to see, then hit an Indian restaurant for dinner.  We thought perhaps an ethnic restaurant would be a bit better then the local food we've tried but evidently NOT!  The food was not up to snuff, Vinnie enjoyed his more than I did mine.  I have now given up eating altogether, hopefully I can survive the next month off of coffee and sweets!  I do plan on buying fruit to supplement my diet.  Who thinks I'll still gain weight?!






How exciting! I love the Hot Springs! Sorry the food sucks. :( Maybe it will get better.....

  Bethanie Nov 1, 2010 12:41 AM


Have bananas become the new cure-all? and what's with the "western and flat" re: house arch styles. You didn't resonate with the Calif ranch style where you grew up. Greylawn didn't do it for you in so many ways???!!??. Mud bath sounds yummy and debilitating at the same time.

  Dr Old J Nov 8, 2010 6:33 AM

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