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  • Day49

    Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach 3/11

    November 3, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 28 °C

    Alarm at 4am was a no no... instead we got up and made a good solid north Island plan, taking advantage of the time we had here and the wifi. Finally we have some vague road route to stick too!

    We headed to Cathedral Cove around lunch, where we found a tiny car park at the top of a steep hill. No spaces though 🙁 so we drove back down to the Haihei beach thinking we might be able to walk back along the beach to the cove from here. busy car park. Apparently this was not possible so we had some lunch and then tried back the car park. We intended to wait 10 mins and then leave if we were still waiting. Fortunately it only took a couple of loops around before we able to pinch a space.

    Once again the walk was well managed. Great footpaths and signage as well as well built outlooks and useful information. We could do to take a leaf out of their book in England, it is so nice to always know you will actually have a good walk, have decent signs, water points and usually a toilet too! They might be long drops but so far they have been well maintained and tbh not an issue at all. Actually think it's great that they work so hard to reduce the waste pollution from the walkers.

    The walk itself took us through coastal jungle forests with large fern trees and beautiful colourful plants the whole way. The views of the ocean and the white cliffs and bays were spectacular, making the mostly uphill walk very worth it. We took a detour to gemstone Bay, apparently great for a snorkel, to take a look. It was very pretty but such a short stop off the steps back up isn't seem worth it and we skipped the next snorkelling Bay further along the walk.

    The walk to the cove opened out to a coastal hillside path before teen teeing the forest and this time meandering down, eventually down lots of steps to the beach.

    To the left was the so called "Cathedral" and you can understand why as soon as you see it.

    This cave, now archway, is!! The arch is huuuge! You look through and get a great view of the other side where there is another beautiful beach. The cliffs and cove are quite white here with a yellow tinge and there are remnants of other stacks too that now sit as tiny little rock islands close to the shore, the odd tree growing on them. I wish we had more time here as it is a stunning beach and not too busy either but we had to get back to the car to make it to Hot Water Beach.

    Made it to Hot Water Beach quite early, you get four hours either side of low tide to dig a hole and enjoy it. (A nice girl from the campsite that we had been chatting to on the evenings bumped in to us on the walk to cathedral cove and seemed to think there was only one low tide a day and that they had missed it. Felt a little bad for them as they were looking forward to it, but they were committed to the cove walk by that point).

    Anyhow... we arrived and then had to figure out where on earth (literally) to dig a hole in the sand. We knew it was near a pile of rocks that had a green tinge to them, presumably from the minerals, and so we started to dig between a couple of other holes. By we I also mean Rob....we only took one spade. He dug a sizeable hole and it filled with lovely, cold water lol. We tested those around us which were also cold, despite the people inside still digging. By this point too there were more people who had set up camp in front of the rocks we were beside, despite the waves still coming in an destroying their efforts. We thought this was silly, so moved slightly further around from them to dig another hole where the water wouldn't ruin it. Another fail though. Instead we asked a couple if we could help them dig and share the space. We dug a very large hole and eventually got some Luke water which we were happy enough with to sit in. Rob still thought it was too cold and took some persuading though. We all then noticed the steaming water coming from the pool beside us. It was a shallow dug pool and full of people in a long line enjoying the heat. That is until it got too hot (it was boiling) and they decides to let loads of water put and some sea water in. This was pretty annoying for us as we could have done with them just sharing into our pool but teamwork in these numbers, with so many languages, is not really a natural occurrence.
    Eventually we asked them to let in some warm water and we could finally enjoy a bit of a soak and a chat about travels around New Zealand. The people next to us had been there a few years and were off to the U.K. now due to work so we could share advice. We also found a patch in our pool that was bubbling hot water from the sand. Felt lovely until you tried sitting on it and burnt your bum! A watch thermometer said it was over 80 beneath the sand.
    We then got annoyed by two stupid German boys who just thought it polite to trample in and around everyone s hard built pools, including ours...grrrr. But hey ho, the tide was on its way back in and when Rob got the the full force of the freezing waves breaking our barriers, it was time to leave!

    The whole thing was pretty cool and amusing bit it really is also bizarre. The rest of the bench empty and then hundreds gathered by rocks in self dug holes, all for a bit of warm water!

    We headed back to camp, where hot water came out of taps!?!😵 and had another evening of chatting to fellow travellers before going to bed all excited for Hobbiton the next day!
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