We were leaving the Coromandel this morning in order to head to Rotorua but before we left we decided to head to a local beach called Cathedral Cove for a little morning walk. The guidebook descibes Cathedral Cove as 'the jewel in the regions crown', so we were really looking forward to getting there. The carpark is actually a long lookout post with views which stretch out across the whole coastline of the local town of Hahei and down to the Hot Water Beach where we were last night. The walk down to Cathedral Cove was about 35 minutes through the forest and it was a hell of a hike down
! There was a designated path but it was very muddy and we were slipping quite a lot. On the way we saw signs for some other beaches with names like Stingray Bay and Jemstone Beach. Once we finally made our way to Cathedral Cove neither of us could believe how beautiful it was. We made our way down some long steep wooden steps from the forest and walked out onto the most perfect beach. The cove was quite small and in a semi-circle shape. On the left hand side was a huge cliff with a big hole in the middle which lead to another beach, the sand was soft and white, the waves were crashing loudly, the water was a beautiful green colour and on the right was a waterfall falling down from the otherside of the cove. We couldn't believe our luck!! The weather had been a bit overcast during the last few days but once stepped out onto Cathedral Cove the clouds disappeared and the sun came out, it was amazing. After a bit of a think we both decided it was the best beach either of us had ever been to. We stayed on the beach for a few hours and seriously considered going back to the van to get our swimming things and to hire some snorkels but we knew we had a long drive ahead of us so we didn't. After a while we headed back to the van and stopped off in another little cove called Jemstone Beach. It was gorgeous too and we climbed over the rocks and watched the waves for a bit.
Once we got back to the van we headed off to Rotorua
. We were both really excited to get there. The main reason for us going to Rotorua is because it sits in a huge area of geothermal activity and we really wanted to see some of the boiling mud pits and geysers. As soon as we arrived in Rotorua we could tell it was different to all the other towns we had been in so far. It is much more of a backpacker destination, with a Dominos pizza (!), a cinema (!!) and internet access (yaaay). Oh and it smells like rotten eggs! Because of the geothermal activity undeground and the large amounts of sulpher in the water Rotorua has a very 'unusual' aroma. It doesn't smell bad all the time but every now and then you get a whiff of it and it blows your socks off! As we were driving around town we very quickly noticed huge plumes of smoke coming from all directions. We then realised that it wasn't smoke but steam coming from vents all over town from which boiling water and mud escape. They really are everywhere...in people's back gardens, in the parks, in the grass. As you are walking though the park you'll notice a little plume of steam coming from the ground and as you get closer there is a small ditch with boiling water bubbling in it. And then, if it is a particularly sulpherous pit, you will get a waft of the strongest rotten egg smell. It is the strangest thing to see!! Our first impressions of Rotorua were great, even if it has put us off egg butties for the rest of our lives!
The campsite we stayed at last night was called the Cowree Lodge (and yes there were pictures of cows everywhere) and we were the only people on site. It was great because we could take over the TV room and watch whatever we wanted but a bit lonely when we were walking back to the van in the pitch black and cooking breakfast by ourselves... all together now, ahhhh!