Kel: Coromandel Town is another beautifully quaint town on the coast. Kind of like it's set in the fifties. A frontier old gold rush town that's kept that kind of look. We had a really nice evening there after our sunset drive and had our taste of local oysters and mussels then went to listen to a local band which was pretty cool.
The next day we went on a wee train up into the mountains that a couple of guys made themselves and still to this day run. They were passionate about nature and maintaining indiginous plants, such as the kauri trees and are keen to chat about the plight to wipe out the non indigineous (?) possums brought over from oz.
Did you know that there are no indiginous mammals in NZ! They had over 90 indiginous birds, half of which are now extinct. Introduced mammals such as possums don't help the matter, especially since they don't have other mammals to eat them! V interesting. So aussies protect possums, and in NZ you're actively encourage to whack them, drive over them, trap them etc etc. Funny.
Anyway, we picked up some locally smoked fish and mussels (dad you would have loved it!) and then headed over to the other side of the province to Cathedral Cove. It took about an hour on a beautiful coastal walk to reach it, and is basically a massive rock arch way separated from the cliff face due to erosion etc. Gorgeous (and apparently in the Narnia film). We even braved a wee swim in the sea (our only one to date in NZ... a bit more chilly here!) On the way there we stopped off at emerald bay and even managed to get it to ourselves which was pretty cool.
After that we headed to hot water beach. At low tide, you head out, dig yourself a wee hole in the sand and then literally scorce your tootsies/bum in the hot water spring that fills the hole up. Matthew wasn't too impressed as he thought it was too 'touristy' but at the end of the day, it's natural, and there were loads of people there, but I kind of liked it. We happened to chat to a couple that owned a local gallery and were telling them what we were planning next (drive around east cape in a day) and they told us we were nuts. Thankfully we chatted cause they made our lives a bit easier : )
We had a lovely evening (life is pretty simple in the van, no tv, read books, eat outside if we can, laundry, drinky poos, back to student food or anything you can make easily) and got ready for the next drive.