This morning we set off for a much shorter drive than yesterday! We drove North towards Cathedral Cove and parked at the DOC carpark overlooking the bay. From the top, the view was spectacular and one of my favourites so far, looking out over the cliffs towards the ocean.
We set off on our walk, which turned out to be quite energetic - up and down lots of steps and hills, but well worth the effort. The first place we came to was Gemstone Bay, down a short side track. The bay was rocky and secluded and the water was crystal clear - good for snorkelling in warmer weather!
Further down the track, I left Laura having a rest on a rock, and tried to get down to Stingray Bay. I was almost there when the track turned into deep mud with no way through! I didn't fancy getting stuck, so I had to abandon that one and head back up the hill.
Our final stop was Mare's Leg Cove. This was named after an offshore rock formation shaped like a horses leg which collapsed a while ago. The beach was long and sandy and we walked along to one end, where there was a mini waterfall from the cliffs above, which was entertaining the two kids who were playing near it! After a rest on a log admiring the view, we walked back to the other end of the beach, to the giant natural archway leading through to Cathedral Cove. It was 20 metres high and 10 metres wide, and along the route and at the entrance to the arch, we'd seen signs saying it was dangerous and we were not advised to walk through it due to the danger of rockfall. So we both climbed over the rope blocking the entrance and wandered in! The tide was right up to the rocks at the other end of the arch, so we couldn't get onto the beach at Cathedral Cove but we took pictures and had a quick look.
After the long and tiring walk back through a grove of puriri trees, we drove to a nearby picnic spot on the coast for lunch. We then headed towards Coromandel Town and our campsite for the night, at the Coromandel Hotel. We checked in and parked in a field at the back of the pub, and went to check out the facilities. This was the first time we'd been disappointed by a campsite in NZ - bathrooms and toilets weren't really clean, and the lounge had a bad smell! It all needed redecorating and updating. We left the site and walked down the mainstreet in the town, calling into the Star and Garter Hotel for a pint and to read the paper.
For dinner, we ate out (luxury!!) at a fantastic Thai place. Thai curries were delicious, but I think we'd have eaten anything that wasn't pasta and sauce! We finished off the night with a couple of pints in the Coromandel Hotel, where one of the locals came up and started chatting to us. He was very friendly but more than a bit drunk. Later on, he asked us to join his table where his friend 'Red Dog' was telling his mates about his Thai conquests on his recent trip! The guy that invited us to sit there then left to go out in the back yard to chat up a lady, so we took that as our cue to leave!