New Zealand- Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

We arrived into New Zealand and off we went to explore Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach. Our flights into New Zealand were long- think over 24 hours with layovers but they went smooth and we made all our connections. We flew ORD-SFO-AKL. Once we arrived, we found our bags and cleared customs. We were off to get our car rental.

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Finally arrived into Auckland Airport
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This is what 24 hours of flying to New Zealand looks like! Flat hair don’t care.
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Baggage check
Rental Car

We rented from EZI rentals at the Auckland airport. I had booked a standard car online for $228nz (156USD) and everything went smooth with the rental. It always seems like in the US car rental companies are trying to up charge you for everything but they were nice and pleasant with no up sell. EZI was an off site rental car company so we loaded up in a van to get to the location. But the whole process was very easy.

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Car rental from EZI in New Zealand
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Driving on the “wrong” side

One of my husband’s biggest fears was driving on the left side in New Zealand. (Or as we called it the wrong side.) But after a couple for tense moments get out of the airport we were off driving to the Coromandel Peninsula. One thing that was not easy was the path Google maps took us over a mountain to get to Hot Water Beach. It was not an easy path for a first time “wrong side” driver.

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Over the mountains at Coromandel Peninsula
Rental House at Hot Water Beach

I booked the rental on www.bookabach.co.nz . Think of this site as the VBRO of New Zealand. Since we were only going to be able to stay one day. We were able to find a rental between two stays that allowed us to stay for only one night. We paid $175NZ ($127USD plus a linen fee) for one night which was a great deal as we really wanted to be close to the beach. This was the whole reason we drove to the Coromandel Peninsula.

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Front sliding door to our rental at Hot Water Beach

Here is a link to the Bach we booked at Hot Water Beach. The cost was worth it for the location. When we arrived we were so grateful another renter help direct us to the location as it was hard to find the keypad. The location was amazing! Right on the beach. But we had very little time to explore the beach. We showered from the long flight and took off to hike to Cathedral Cove.

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Bedroom at Bach
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Bathroom at Bach
Cathedral Cove

It was a short car ride to the village of Hahei in New Zealand. To get to the start of the Cathedral Cove hike you have to take a bus as there is so much demand to get to the location that they limit everyone’s ability to park your car in the nearby car park. They had staff in the parking lot to answer your questions. We paid the small ticket price and got on the old bus and headed to the start of the hike. The trail is paved and was a easy walk but there are lots of hills.

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The view of the coast on the hike to Cathedral Cove
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The hike to Cathedral cove
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The views were amazing
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Map to Cathedral Cove

The views of the water and scenery were impressive. When you come to the end of the hike there is a series of stairs that take you down to the beach. Cathedral Cove is impressive. The location is right out of the movies and it was in the Chronicles of Narina. We took the obligatory pictures in the cove then dodge the rising tide to hop to the other side of the beach where it is less busy. We returned to busy side to watch the tourist swim out to a rock and jump off.  Then we hiked back to the start and jumped on the bus to the car park.

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The walk down the stairs to the beach
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The beach was busy but gorgeous
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The main attraction Cathedral Cove
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In front of Te Hoho Rock
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Cathedral Cove
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At the Beach
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People watching at Cathedral Cove
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The hike back to the car park
Hot Water Beach

We returned to our rental at Hot Water Beach. Because of the tides Hot Water beach is the best experienced at low tide, or two hours before and after low tide. In my research, I found that low tide was at 8pm on the day we visited. Weather and tide schedule for Hot Water Beach.  While we waited my husband went for a run while I explored the beach community to find a place for dinner. When he returned we were within the two hour window and headed out to the Beach.

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Have shovel, will dig- off to the beach

Our rental came with a mini shovel to dig our hole at the beach but we quickly realized that the water was scalding hot on a freshly dug sand hole. So we ended up taking an empty pre-dug hole with mildly hot water. Just like Goldilocks the water was “just right”. It was really an unique experience to dig a sand hole and have it fill up with warm bath water.

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Hot Water Beach
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Hot Water Beach
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Digging the first hole which was way too hot. Child supervision is required, I guess!
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Finally found a mildly hot “Goldilocks” water hole
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Enjoying the hot sand spa?

After the beach we headed back to the rental to wash the sand off and head to dinner. We walked to a Hot Waves Cafe and had pizza outside while listening to music during open mic night. At the end of the night we were exhausted and headed to bed early as we had a busy day ahead and were battling jet lag.

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Hot Waves Cafe during open mic night
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Menu at Hot Waves Cafe

Next up, we were headed for Hobbington, Waitamo Glow Worm Cave and ending at Tongariro National Park.

This is part of a larger trip report, Please read more at the following links.

New Zealand- Take Two- Planning Stage

New Zealand- Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

Hobbiton, Waitamo Glow Worm Cave and Tongariro NP

 

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