The drive from the lakes to Coromandel (again a town and a region) was the longest one yet, around 400km, but we didn't have anywhere we wanted to stop on the way to see things so we headed straight there. It took us about 7 hours as we got stuck in loads of traffic on the motorway but it was a nice drive to see all the different scenery. It was weird driving to Auckland and seeing a big city after just seeing the countryside and villages for a week.
We drove up the east coast of Coromandel and stopped in Hahei at Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve, as far as you could go to the end of the road on this area of coast. There was a big car park for the cove as it was a popular spot for walks to the coves and for swimming and activities. It was heavily raining when we got there so we couldn't see out to the views over the cove but it was still busy with people pulling up. There were 6 car parking spots at the back corner of the car park for campervans to park overnight from 5pm- 9am so we stayed there for the night. There were quite a few campers parked alongside us and dotted around the car park in the normal parking spaces. There were long drop toilets but they were awful so we tried to avoid them unless necessary! We had a nice night playing games and getting drunk in our van until we ran out of pop and couldn't drink anything else!
On the 29th we still got up early after a good drink and weren't too bad. We did a walk from Cathedral Cove Reserve and went to Gem Stone Bay, Sting Ray Bay, Mares Leg Cove and Cathedral Cove. Gem stone bay was a very rocky bay, good for snorkelling. Sting ray bay had it's own beach that nobody was on, which was nice. Mares Leg Cove was connected to Cathedral Cove by a naturally formed rock archway, meaning the cove could only be accessed from Mares Leg at low tide. It was lovely! It was easy to understand why the place was so popular! After the walk we drove to Hot Water Beach and had a walk along the beach. We weren't able to dig out own hot water pools as this area of the beach could only be accessed 2 hours either side of low tide and we had missed that time. I was a bit gutted but there wasn't much we could do! After this it was still early enough to head on to Mount Maunganui, our next destination. It was really boiling by this point so trust us to be in the van!