It wasn’t a long drive from Katikati to the Coromandel peninsula, a binocular’s view across the gulf from Auckland, The Coromandel is everything that a big city isn’t.  Cloaked in native rainforest with dazzling white sand beaches, this area is rustic and unspoiled.   

Once again we opted to use Air bnb for our accommodation, this time staying in Tairua at the ocean-front home of Reghan and Emma, a well-travelled young couple (more about that stay in my next exciting post).

After getting settled in at Tairua on the east coast of the Coromandel peninsula,  we had only a short drive to Hahei for the hike to Cathedral Cove.  The cave and beach at Cathedral Cove was used as the tunnel through which the Pevensie children first re-enter Narnia, in the movie version of The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

We had been keeping our eyes on the time of the high tide as this would be relevant not only when we arrived at the Cove, but also later for our trip to Hot Water Beach.

There is a delightful walk across countryside and down hundreds of steps until finally we arrived at the beaches at Cathedral Cove, which is only accessible by foot unless, of course, you choose to paddle in by kayak.

After removing our shoes, we walked through the stone arch to Cathedral Cove beach on the other side, which was a great place to spend an hour or two.  We paddled, took photos and just marvelled at the splendour of Mother Nature.

As time passed, all that remained was to climb back up the steps and hike back to the car for part two of our exciting trip to the Hahei area – Hot Water Beach.  Its name comes from underground hot springs which filter up through the sand between the high and low water tidal reaches.  Within two hours either side of low tide, it is possible to dig into the sand allowing hot water to escape to the surface forming a hot water pool.  The water, with a temperature as hot as 64C, filters up from two underground fissures located close to each other. 

As you might imagine, Hot Water Beach is a popular destination for locals and tourists, with annual visitor numbers in the region of 700,000. 

It was a cool, breezy evening, with a change of weather on the way, so we decided not to bathe but to watch the others having fun.