Nothing like an early-morning Jurassic Park reference.
10.03.2013 - 18.03.2013 25 °C
As the week has passed here in Auckland so too has the summery weather- as I nestle in several blankets there is a steady tropical-like downpour drumming on my roof. That being said the forecast is for sun these coming days, so I’m enjoying this cooler interlude while it lasts. Such weathery shenanigans didn’t get in the way of an adventure-filled weekend- I am lucky enough to have a crazy German nesting on my floor as I type this, who is determinedly catching some shut eye before her 3am wake up call tomorrow morning- I’ll say nothing on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of booking 7am flights. Mona came for but a whirlwind visit, though we made the most of the time- heading out in Sheila, (a Mitsubishi Chariot, pictured below) and setting our compass (or GPS) due east for the Coromandel Peninsula- a.k.a Jurassic Park.
The Coromandel Peninsula is a fascinating mix of rugged coastline, Jurassic-esque dense, dense ferns, white sand beaches and quaint fishing towns. Loaded down with kiting gear, a guitar, cameras, food and bikinis, we had a wonderful time adventuring around- parking the car by the beach to sleep at night and exploring said beach and surrounds by day. Our first attempt at finding-isolated-beach-to-sleep-at was not the most successful- waking surrounded by other cars, as we'd parked next to an (apparently very popular) fishing harbour! But the views, oh the views...
Our second night, however, more than made up for it- waking to a completely isolated beach, with Scottish-highland-like vistas behind and crashing waves ahead. The weather when we woke was also reminiscent of the highlands- grey and rainy. However, this only served to make us even more grateful for the amazing coffee and kumara chips we had at a local café after getting thoroughly soaked exploring- with surfboards as tables, very comfy couches and a wood-fired pizza oven warming up the whole café, which had a garage door for a roof, we were very happy with this post-weather-acting-as-supersoaker find.
We dutifully hit the tourist site of Hot Water Beach, near Hahei- what complete chaos! The geology nerd in me was super excited for my first-ever geothermal experience, and with water temperatures of 60-64 degrees celcius, I was not disappointed on that front. The hot water spring is only accessible 2 hours either side of low tide, when the crashing surf retreats enough to allow every man and his dog to dig themselves a pond of steaming hot water and wallow. Mona and I found ourselves incredibly bemused to find the entire beach empty except for the spring area, which looked like this:
Having wriggled our toes in the hot, hot water, we decided not to fight the hoardes for space to build our own pool, but instead played ‘Spot the German,’ a game we are so adept at I feel I should put it on my resume.
We also took a break from being beach-bums to check out a few hikes into the Jurassic- I was ardently hoping for bay stegosauri to come and weave through our feet, but sadly this was not to be. We saw the wonderfully cold Waiau Falls (try pronouncing that one, I dare you) and then a kauri grove- awesomely old trees (600-800 years) with such large girths- up to 6m!
It wouldn’t be a blog entry from me without some mention of food/coffee- I’ve made a wonderful discovery on Queen St, of an icecream research kitchen! (I’ve since returned to validate the awesomeness of said kitchen three times. May need to return a few more just to be sure.) With flavours such as ‘Organic Cocoa’ and ‘Wild Plum and Pinot Noir,’ this is probably the best icecream I’ve ever had. And to top it off, (pun intended), they garnish your icecream with whatever would suit the flavour best- I’ve had fairy floss and violet petals on berry sorbet, dark chocolate sauce on coconut… Be still my beating heart.
A few final pictures from another beach adventure- heading out West of Auckland, Ryan and I went in search of a local surf spot- can’t wait for sunrise surf sessions. The sand is a stunning black, and the water still ridiculously blue. The surf is similar to home- wild and untamed. This area feels very similar to Byron Bay at home- small surf shops, winding roads through walls of green, spotless beaches and a very chill vibe.