Got an early start up the winding road towards the tip of the Coromandel peninsula at Port Jackson. The road was a good one for quite a bit of the way, but eventually it became a gravel road, and after we had travelled about 12 kms we stopped at a secluded beach and got chatting to a guy who told us that the guide at the campsite where he had stayed the previous night had warned him against taking this gravel road any further as it became quite treacherous….and to turn back….so we took that advice too!

We think that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries we have ever visited, with probably the most trees anywhere, except for Canada. The scenic drive to Whitianga was easy as Simone had kindly lent us her GPS yesterday when we visited. We are not really familiar with GPS, but after only about a mile of driving, Michael announced “I’m having one of these!”, soon followed by “pardon….what did she say…does she mean turn here?” LOL Anyway, we soon got used to her announcing the way forward, and very good she seems to be at it too!

After lunch we made our way to Hahei which is a totally unspoiled hamlet of expensive houses, with only one store and restaurant. The bay here is similar to the Bay of Islands with many large and small islands out to sea and we are sure that if a similar hamlet was in the USA or Europe it would have been totally spoiled with commercialism, whereas here the area’s integrity has been preserved. We found B&B accommodation in a huge private house with tropical gardens. The owner was just cleaning his swimming pool when we arrived so I had a swim (25C), but of course it was too cold for Michael as he only swims in our pool at home when it is at least 27C…bless his little cotton socks!  The local attractions at Hahei are Cathedral Cove which is a bay only accessible by almost an hour’s walk along a coastal path, and Hot Water Beach which we will visit tomorrow morning. The walk to Cathedral Cove was at times a challenging one, and took us through lush, dense vegetation but the Cove itself was well worth the effort involved. We sat for an hour or so on the beach in the setting sun, reminding ourselves just how lucky we are to be spending time in such a beautiful place.