© 2017 mikeandbrynne

Farewell to Waiheke

There was a misty rain in the air as we boarded the ferry back to the North Island. 

In Auckland we stopped to run a few errands and Mike surprised the kids with 5 pizzas from Pizza Hut. Happy Valentines Day. Pizza Hut is not something we would indulge in at home, but on vacation my always hungry boys were in heaven! 

Happy full kids enjoyed listening to The Fellowship of the Ring (we already listened to the entire Hobbit over the course of the first weeks drives) during our long foggy drive up to the Coromandel Pennisula. Surprisingly, as we arrived at our holiday home the fog began to lift and we got ready for adventure. 

Typical New Zealand holiday homes require you to bring your own linens and towels and expect you to clean the home before you depart. This was our first true Kiwi holiday home and we busted out the sleeping bags we had packed and our little beach towels. Sadly this meant that we didn’t actually have enough towels for both the beach and showering. Lots of improvising. 

Since the weather had been poor and it was fairly late in the day we scored a parking spot at the famed Cathedral Cove (this is like winning the lottery in this neck of the woods) and embarked on the 30 minute tramp down to the famed beach. We were not disappointed. Beautiful beach, fun rocks to swim out to and dive off and a great cave that everyone but Lily swam out to. Very cool. Lily loved the fresh water waterfall on the south end of the beach. I think my favorite park of this gorgeous cove was the lack of crowds that it usually accumulates. It was lovely to be the only ones swimming out to the cave and enjoying the waterfall. 

We continue to meet such lovely people as we travel. The Kiwis have been so friendly and we have met travelers from all over the world. Mike enjoyed using his Swedish and visiting with a family from Stockholm down in the cove that was on a 9 week holiday. We have met many that are on 6 month holidays. Perhaps Europeans are more likely to take sabbaticals??

By the time we finished our cove hike it was nearly 7p. We had toyed with the idea of going to Hot Water Beach but it was already 2 hours since low tide which we heard was the close of the “window of opportunity”. Since Hot Water Beach was less than 10 minutes from our home we decided to go for it. It ended up being the highlight of Lily’s trip thus far. 

Hot Water Beach is another one of New Zealand’s amazing phenomena. At low tide along a consistent line hot water bubbles up from below the sand. This geothermal volcanic wonder is well known and publicized and an hour or two before low tide the beach fills with beachgoers, spades in hand, coming to dig themselves their own ocean front spa. Supposedly the ideal time to come is within 2 hours of low tide and the peak of the hordes are about an hour before low tide. We arrived a little over two hours after low tide and we decided THAT was the ideal time to arrive. It was late in the evening and most of the hole diggers had abandoned their holes and headed for home. This left us with plenty of pre-made “spas” to try, limited stragglers and perfect body surfing waves all to ourselves. Lily has been hesitant of the waves and the beach since we arrived in New Zealand. As soon as we set foot on a beautiful beach with powerful waves she is begging me to “hold you”. However, all that changed when we placed her into her own little beach spa. She was in heaven. The only thing that got us to eventually leave was the rising tide that finally breeched all the fortified walls of our “spa”. As we ran across the beach back up to our car you could hear Lily laughing and crying out, “Beach- tomorrow!”