. It was a sprawling area of tents, motor homes, bunkers with rooms... Basically, it's a very hot spot for New Zealand families to take their summer vacation. We had to of been the only American's there and were a surprise to most of the people we came in contact with. But it was a beautiful beach in a very small town. We found the local restaurant and had some dinner before heading back for a good nights sleep.
The next morning we packed up and went on a nice morning hike to Cathedral Cove via Gemstone Bay and Stingray bay. It was a beautiful hike, especially after being in the car for 6 hours the day before. The Cove was peaceful and since we went early no one else was there. It is highly recommended.
Unfortunately we didn't get to Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own bath in the sand during low tide and be warmed by thermal heated water. Maybe next time.
After a late start we prepared for another long day of driving to get to our next spot in the Coromandel Peninsula, which was roughly 5-6 hours drive South on Highway One. Not that we were wondering, but we learned pretty quickly what happens when there is an accident on one of New Zealands two lane roads. Which by the way is pretty much all of the roads once you get out of Auckland. So when there is an accident, they detour you on an even smaller road - sometimes not even paved. So to get past the accident we were sent through numerous small towns, stopped most of the way as these roads are not set up for "traffic". So the detour took us about 2 hours to get back on the freeway and avoid about a 3 mile stretch where the accident was. Now we know how these two lane roads work. The drive went pretty fast after the detour, so we still made it all the way to Hahai before the front desk closed at our so called hotel. We got to the highly rated Hahai Holiday Park and checked into our backpackers room. WOW, what a sight