KT: We stayed at a lovely hostel 'On The Beach Backpackers' Buffalo Beach, Whitianga
. Of course as always taking advantage of the freebies free kayak hire we decided to brave the Mercury Bay and make our way to Lonely Bay. I wanted to do this in a double kayak but Steve thought not! So we headed to the sea a bit dubious as no one else was kayaking and the waves were very big. After the owner of the hostel advised us not to take any bags with us as they'd get wet, we ignored this. I attempted to get into the sea but rolled the kayak (capsizing) as I hadn't quite judged the waves right and got in a little early. After this we decided taking the camera was a bad idea. Lots of laughs later, and a bump to my head, Steve and I were cruising. Well, I was. Steve's excuse being his kayak was bigger than mine. That'll teach him for not listening to me about getting a double kayak! Not sure if Steve knows this but Dad and I use to do a lot of kayaking/canoeing on family holidays so I was loving it.
We didn't quite end up making it to Lonely Bay, but instead stopped at another deserted beach. Steve and I made a great entrance onto the beach. We thought we'd timed it just right riding a wave onto the shore but then a sneaky one came in behind us and flipped us! What a state I looked. Head to toe covered in shingle (Ang reminded me of you on holiday in Lloret de Mar). By now we have the knack and I'm a pro at gliding both in and out of the sea. What a morning!!
In the afternoon we headed to the beach to the famous Cathedral Cove. The good thing about this place is it's a good 45 minute walk from the car park which means it's not full of people. Coastline is fabulous and the colour of the sea is just amazing. It's a good walk and you can take in other bays along the way, but it's a steep climb down and back up again (SB: good walk??!? After the kayaking then this walk I needed a hospital bed!).
Next stop, Waitomo for caving adventures
SB: With just under 4 weeks to do both islands in NZ, we didn't hang around long in Auckland and hired a car to get us on our way (pay peanuts you get a complete monkey of a car!). First stop was to head east to the Coromandel Peninsula. Beautiful place, and in fact driving up the west coast of it the road rivalled, if not bettered, many parts of the Great Ocean Road. The target was the Hot Water Beach, a beach with a thermal reservoir beneath it in one part, the thermal waters rising up and when you dig in the beach you end up with your own personal spa. The water wasn't just warm in places, I actually burnt my foot in one bit - literally like dipping your foot in a recently boiled kettle! While bathing here we were treated to a spectacular and totally unexpected dolphin display - amazing creatures, and unbelievable how easily they can capture ever persons' full atention.