Kuaotunu Bay

December in Coromandel

coromandel6Moving to a new country is quite daunting. Add to it a new role in a new job and it can be really exhausting. While there is so much joy in discovering new places and learning a new culture, sometimes living far from family and close friends can hit me hard. It didn’t help that T was away quite often (for weeks) during our early days of move to middle earth.

Macho with the bikes.

Macho with the bikes.

I was trying to save leave days as I knew we are now too far from family and friends and any visit home would require at least 2 weeks. However, 4 months after starting my job… my body and mind were begging for a break. I did not wait for T’s return and just went on. Besides, our new (second-hand actually) car, Macho, needed some stretching.

After some research and asking around, I decided to take a lazy drive to the Coromandel Peninsula early in December. Mr. Google said it would take me about 3 hours to get there from home but with my slow drive and multiple stops, it took me about 5 hours to reach my destination. The place was so spectacular that I decided I had to bring T there when he was back so we could explore the place more as I only focused on the Coromandel town itself.

So on Boxing Day, team T&T went there again. The first part of the trip, we went via the same route I took early December, via Pacific Coast Highway. But instead of going through Thames as I did last time, we decided to go through the other side where Hot Beach and Cathedral Cove are.

Scenic view along the way

Scenic view along the way

We reached the Hot Water Beach mid- afternoon. And it wasn’t difficult to spot… tons of people were fighting for a spot to dig to make their own hot-water pool. T wasn’t so keen to go through all the tourists occupying that tiny area but I was initially keen to dig my own pool for the experience of it. After few minutes of looking at the busy crowd, I satisfied myself with the feel of the warm water under my feet and then walked on, enjoyed the vast stretch of sand away from the crowd and watched the waves. It was getting late so we decided to skip the Cathedral Cove.

Hot Water Beach

Hot Water Beach

A short drive from there, we headed towards our intended dinner place, Luke’s Kitchen… which we found closed as it was a public holiday. From there we decided to explore the road going up and overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As we continued to drive, we hit a nice white sand area which later I found out to be Opito Bay.

L-R: View from our room, Opito Bay, Pepper Tree Restaurant

L-R: View from our room, Opito Bay, Pepper Tree Restaurant

As our tummies started to grumble, we headed to our lovely accommodation at Kaeppeli’s Bed and Breakfast. We met the very friendly owner Jill and her dog Bridie. With her help we found out that most of the cafés nearby were closed and the only one open was the fish and chips takeaway at the camping area. coromandel7But the Pepper Tree Restaurant at Coromandel town was open. I knew about the place from my last visit as recommended by a colleague. It was a chilly night out but still one great evening especially when you’re out with your prince charming. 🙂

The following day we went to the tip of the peninsula and found ourselves stuck at Fletcher Bay. We thought we could go all the way round but it turned out to be a dead-end for cars at least. We could have gone round if we would do the coastal walk but with Macho, our car, it wasn’t an option. Despite the navigator’s (euh I’ll try not to admit it’s me) misinterpretation of the map, it was one nice drive along the coast. That night we capped off our long-weekend trip with a nice wood-fired pizza at Luke’s Kitchen.

On the way to Fletcher Bay

On the way to Fletcher Bay

On our way back home, we went via the opposite side and stopped by another recommended eating place, the Coromandel Mussel Kitchen. I tried their famous mussel chowder. The dish was nice but not very special I’d say.

Our last stop was Thames Town. With a nice weather out we went for a short walk along the coast overlooking Karanui Bay. We then went for a quick bite at Café Melbourne along Pollen Street.

Every so often during our trip, we found ourselves in awe and commenting… so this is our new home.

 

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