My camera died on day one. From that point I began shooting pics of our weekend trip to Coromandel on my iPhone. Then when I dropped that in the ocean, I turned to Jess’ older iPhone. That said, here’s a look at our weekend in one of the North Island’s top beach destinations.
Wednesday we flew from Wellington to Auckland. Same as last weekend in Sydney – I worked while Jess explored the city. Then when the weekend came we rented a campervan and drove two hours south to the Coromandel Peninsula – a favourite among kiwis for its natural beauty.
As I’ve hinted at in this blog, and will now say bluntly: New Zealand is fucking expensive. Almost everything is 40% more than reasonable. I say almost because we’ve found a few items to be actually cheaper than expected … and one of those is off-season campervan rentals. This Mercedes Sprinter with a bed, fridge, toilet, and shower cost us only $90 for three days. Thank you high competition.
Rolling uber luxurious, we crossed the bridge to Coromandel Friday by moonlight and drove another hour to the town of Coromandel. We parked for the night at one of the many pull-offs along the road. At 8am we awoke to a knock. $200 fine for freedom camping in a restricted area. Dammit! Apparently residents have grown tired of vacationers parking their motorhomes anywhere they please, then leaving trash, burning fires, etc. So the city is cracking down.
I get it. But I also hate crowded, ugly, spiritless campgrounds. What’s a young couple to do?
Post-temper tantrum we continued clockwise around the peninsula. Next stop: New Chum’s beach, rated one of the world’s top 20 beaches. Also rated number one for killing Scott’s iPhone. It was a 30 minute walk from the parking lot where we found the place deserted. Of course there was only one thing to do.
Back in the Mercedes, we cruised past one postcard beach after another until we reached Cathedral Cove. The first scene of The Chronicles of Narnia was shot there. Again, a 45 minute walk to the beach (kiwis make you work for it) to where we first set eyes on this spectacular rock archway. We ate smoked mussels and talked about shit.
Further up the road we bit the bullet and paid $36 to park legally for the night at the Hot Water Top 10 Holiday Park. From there it’s a short walk to Hot Water Beach, another natural phenomenon whereby thermally heated water rises from beneath the sand to form natural hot tubs. It was cool beyond words.
That was yesterday. Today we’re sitting in the Auckland airport. It’s Sunday night and I’m a bit blue. Coromandel lived up the hype. A wild corner of the world with isolated beaches, tropical mountains and funky little settlements for the occasional beer and coffee. A part of me thinks it broke my phone as if to say ‘stop looking at your phone … up here buddy.’