Promising Lily another visit to Hot Water Beach visit at the end of the day, we drove through the Coromandel Pennisula to the beautifully preserved Karangahake Gorge. At the converging of the Waitawheta River and the Ohinemuri River lies the remains of a once bustling gold mining town. Trails maze through old mining shafts and through old railroad tunnels. The kids donned head lamps and we explored tunnels and trails. So fun. When their legs were tired of tramping we found a great swimming hole where Mike and the boys swam through old water filled shafts and jumped off rocks and ledges. Daisie and I swam in the cool water and watched over a sleeping Lily.
The long drive back to our home and Hot Water Beach was made light by a stop at an organic farm for amazing blueberries and another stop for cheap ice cream cones. Luke has found a favorite flavor here in New Zealand-Hoky Poky.
It was nearly sunset with a light rain just beginning to fall when we finally made it to Hot Water Beach. This left us with a deserted parking lot and a nearly deserted beach. That only added to the ambiance for the kids. After hole hopping for an hour or so we got an abandoned spade and built an epic warm pool to lie in while the kids took turns running out and body surfing. In some areas the water coming out of the sand was scalding hot and you had to mix it with the cold ocean water to make it cool enough to enjoy. We kept trying to leave but when do you get to have an experience like this? Alone in the darkness it was almost 9p when our pool was finally destroyed by the rising tide and we ran through the rain back to our car. Magical.