Coromandel Peninsula, NZ: are the hot spots worth it?

One of my stops on the North Island a few weeks ago was the Coromandel Peninsula. Its an area just to the east of Auckland (around a 90 minute drive). With only a day or so in the area, I made sure to stop by the “top spots”. When researching where to go, the main two places were: Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach…. so its safe to assume I made sure to stop by.


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If you are headed this way: RENT A CAR! The drives everywhere are gorgeous and filled with endless pull-offs.

Stop one: Paeroa

I stayed in an Airbnb just south of the peninsula in a small town called Paeroa. It is home to the famous Kiwi drink “L&P” (theres an L&P cafe, and a massive L&P bottle in the middle of town). But back to the important stuff, my air bnb; it was behind this adorable, rustic cafe called The Refinery.

I’m really bummed I didn’t get the chance to sit down and take it all in (I was running around like a maniac, no surprise). They had a wide array of coffee (which i had on the go), food and also a cute front courtyard filled with lots of greenery.

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Stop two: Thames

Thames is small town just on the southern west coast of the Coromandel. As you can tell from me above, I decided to have lots of fun being a marine biologist (my friends thought I looked like Darla from Finding Nemo, which i now can see).

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More beach sunset pics???? of course!!!

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stop three: Waiau Falls

The next day started with some gorgeous coastal drives (I highly support the western coastal road to drive on, here’s some proof).

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I decided to make the trip up to Waiau Falls. Whats very convenient, is its located just off the road; what is inconvenient, is its located down a windy gravel road that cuts through the center of the peninsula. The North Island really takes the cake with breathtaking trees (don’t worry South Island, cabbage trees I love you). Of course the renown silver ferns, and other ferns for that matter, never disappoint.

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is it worth the trip? I would give it a 50/50 depending if you feel comfortable driving down a loose gravel road.


stop four: Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is on the Eastern coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. It is really easy to find with lots of signs helping the lost tourists, like me. It is famous for its “Cathedral” shaped rock formation (wow, cathedral at Cathedral Cove???), which paints the frame for a gorgeous white sand beach.

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What they don’t tell you, is to get to Cathedral Cove you have to hike up and down a winding path from the car park. Even though the walk one-way only takes about 25 minutes, I wouldn’t say its the kind of stroll to do in flip flops; the scenery is stunning so it made the steep inclines worth it. Of course being a tourist beach it is going to be crowded but the beach wraps around a bit so there’s plenty room to explore. What I found funny, was there was a water taxi that was around 15$-20$ per person and apparently drops you off closer to the car park to decrease your hike up. It was very popular but I was perfectly fine walking it (more money for coffee). I would block off at least 2 hours to do the trip, enjoy the view and walk back.

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is it worth the trip? 100% a must-see!


stop five: Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach is just south of Cathedral Cove on the Coromandel. A hot water stream runs underneath the beach and is exposed around low tide; it is recommended to visit in the period two hours before or after low tide to feel the “hot water”.

(sorry I have no photos! I didn’t want to get my phone soaked!)

It was very crowded; what they don’t tell you is how small the area of the geothermal “hot water” actually is. So most of the foreigners (like me), who went to visit and try their luck, found themselves on the sidelines waiting for a group to leave to take their already dug-out pool. No it is not impossible, but I am assuming those who snatched a good spot in the sand got there well before the recommended two hours before the tide. On top of that, 50% of the already small geothermal beach area makes it difficult to keep a continuous pool of water. As you can guess, the sand caves in, or gets pushed in, or gradually builds up over time.

The pool me and my friends ended up snatching was a decent sized one but was further away from the water. The water was BURNING hot, so the family who dug it had the hot water streaming into a pool of cooler water farther down so it was kept at a more pleasant temperature. Once we had the pool, we were surrounded by those who didn’t have one and were looking for one. Safe to say there is a lot of competition and unneeded drama. OH AND BRING A SHOVEL! Most people didn’t want to share :/

is it worth the trip? Yes I do recommend going for the heck of it, but you have been warned.


As touristy as the Coromandel is, its touristy for a reason; I’m so happy I made the road trip.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

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67 hours in Rotorua, New Zealand

This past weekend was JAM packed. Check out my twitter for updates 🙂

lets do this


Kuirau Park

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Rotorua is famous for their geothermal pools. Whats convenient is you can visit some for free and they are just off the main street in town. There are some more elaborate ones and pools you can swim in; some are free and some cost a lot so keep your eye out.

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What I found funny, was how these hot spots will pop up occasionally at random spots (even peoples backyards!) I loved the eeriness of this walk. Its a pretty big park with a bunch of geothermal areas to explore.

Skyline Rotorua

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Next up was Skyline Rotorua. It is one of those super tourist attractions with a bunch of activities at one spot. BUT it is still worth the trip 100%!

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The gondola ride to the top of the hill (maybe it was a small mountain??) was gorgeous. There was a mountain biking festival going on that weekend, so going up and down the hill you could see people doing fancy tricks.

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The luge had three tracks: a skyline beginner track and then an intermediate and advanced. The advanced was my personal favorite because there are little jumps that you don’t expect. There is padding and such at some of the sharp turns in case you spin out. The luge rides you can buy on its own in different quantities or in conjunction with other experiences. This picture above is the chair lift to take you back up to the top after going down the luge. At the top once you get off the gondola is a restaurant, gift shop and jelly belly store oddly enough.

Canopy Tours

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Canopy Tours is a zip lining experience through the canopies of a rain forest. Whats awesome is its not just a zip line adventure, the company are advocates for looking after the native bird populations. So not only do you get to admire the forest, but the cost of the trip gives money to their organization to protect New Zealand’s native birds.

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Of the 6 zip lines, the longest was 220m and I even got to zip line upside down!!!!!

Te Puia

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Te Puia is a geothermal park/kiwi bird house/ Maori culture experience extravaganza. It is a massive complex with all the tourist activities you could need. Although I did not get to see it go off, there are 3 geysers that go off a few times a day. The park is pretty to walk around and learn a lot about the area and its culture. I highly recommend doing a day tour; the woman who gave mine was SO knowledgeable.

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Along with the day tour, I did their evening culture experience. I think its so important to immerse yourself in different cultures and be open to the ways that other people live. The experience included a dinner as well.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

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Now, if you know me. I can never pass up an opportunity to go to a cat cafe (check this out)! What was different about this one versus the others I’ve visited, is this one has some rescue cats but a majority are bred, fancy cats (ha! fancy meow cat cafe is fancy! who would’ve known)! Both kittens and older cats reside here and all are up for adoption. Did I mention that I love how cat cafes work??? It’s a meet and greet with loving creatures that just want a forever home.

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Admission to the cafe includes a hot drink which was awesome!!! As you can hopefully see above is that they have a cute menu with cat-like names and yeah, I love it. The cafe looks a lot smaller from the outside, but once you go in there is a massive room around the side. The 17 cats that were there had a lot of room to themselves and places to escape to be away from any visitors.

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There were many rag doll cats & I was very excited about it because I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one before. Yes, they were very soft. The cafe is in the center of town so it’s really convenient to get to.

Lake Rotorua

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Last stop was Lake Rotorua. Even though it was raining, it was a nice walk & I mean the ducks looked like they were having a great time so it’s a win-win.

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I’m really thankful for all of the adventures I have been able to go on. There are so many more to come very very sooooon!!!!!!!!! While in Rotorua I visited Hobbiton but gave it it’s own post if you want to check that out.

(peep some pictures flying over Christchurch)

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot