We'd liked the look of Whitianga so much that we moved there the next morning, the first icy morning we've had and the first time we've had to de-ice the car. The day, however, turned out to be just like a beautiful summer's day and the drive back to Whiti was superb. Before we left however, we took the short drive to Long Bay to admire local views. We were surprised to see so many kingfishers perched on telephone wires - just like migratory birds do back home. Kingfishers are related to the kookaburras but are common indigenous birds in NZ. The previous day we'd organised a place to stay at the Sea View, a lovely modern house right on the sea front. For a very, very reasonable price we had a huge really comfortable apartment with a great kitchen (to E's delight) and magnificent views over the bay - what a gem. So after dropping off our stuff we set off for Cathedral Cove, about 26 km south of town. The Cove is a 45 minute walk along the coast from the small town of Hahei, a bonny wee place with a fabulous beach. But Cathedral Cove is just spectacularly beautiful with a magnificent arched cliff-face and dozens of islands stretching from the shore right into the distance. It was just like a mini Halong Bay. The whole area around Hahei and Cathedral Cove was just wonderful - just when you think you've seen the best of NZ it throws yet more glorious scenery at you.Not sure whether we've already mentioned that generally houses in NZ do not have central heating. We've found rooms to be much colder than we're used to back home and they are reminiscent of those times when you kept well wrapped up and did your ablutions quickly. However, we are getting used to cooler surroundings and .......electric blankets that are on most beds (not our Auckland 'home' though).
On the way to Cathedral Cove we passed a lovely looking golf course at Purangi so decided to have a game of golf the following day. It was yet another beautiful, cloudless day and we played golf in shorts and T shirts. It was a challenging course with lots of water, gully and bushland hazards and a few balls were sadly lost (but none found unfortunately). But we did manage 18 holes before heading off to Hot Water Beach for our mandatory coffee. Now, Hot Water Beach needs to be explained: at low tide holes can be dug in the sand and hot water miraculously fills the holes so you can have this crazy experience of sitting in a self-dug hot-tub with the cold sea refreshing your other parts! For us, unfortunately, low tide was well after sundown so we had to give that experience a miss - but we'll be back.
E & M xxx