The Pacific Coast Highway Mission
Let’s take a day to be super dry. We mean, the driest we have ever been. Too dry for our own good! We’ve been wet, we’ve been cold, we’ve been canyoning, kayaking and diving in winter over the last 10 days of our 12-month trip. But, did we mention? Not today! The sun is out and several beaches lie between us and our end destination today, Waihi.
Today, we say goodbye to the lovely Hot Water Beach and head on the road for some Coromandel beach-hopping while getting some supplies along the way. The Coromandel is mostly known for its stunning beaches so we can pretty much guarantee we are in for a treat.
New Zealand is a small place
Before even leaving Hot Water Beach, Laura is in for a treat when she bumps into a friend, Matty, who she worked and lived with last winter on a Ruapehu ski field. This just goes to show how small a place New Zealand really is. We’ll be catching up with Matty boy later next month in Ruapehu, hopefully for a bit of snowboarding. But, for now…
… Where’s our beaches at?!
We hit the Pacific Coastal Highway once again and make our way to Whangamata. Again, the Pacific Coast Highway provides more glorious views atop the forested hills. We gaze over the forest canopy and can see across the land to long stretches of brilliant beaches. We even can see the Mercury Islands, where we dived the other day.
We pass some cute towns along the way, including Tairua with an impressively pointy mountain on the edge of the ocean, Mt Paku. Straight out of Tairua, the scenery changes abruptly to pine forests. Did we just hit Norway right here? This is what we love about New Zealand: the rapid change of scenery.
Whangamata, which is pronounced in a posh sort of way like: “Fang-a-mat-aarrrrrr, darling” Not: “Fang-a-ma-ta”, is our lunch-stop today. We can see why the name is pronounced in such a fancy way, because the crowd here seem a bit more… “high class” shall we say? There’s a car with a boat on its trailer around every corner and the supermarket vegetable prices are skyrocketing! That’s when you know you’re in a different sort of world: vegetable prices. The case is further proved when Robin remarks how Whangamata reminds him of the beach town his parents had their boat in France. Oh, lardy-da, Robin.
On Whangamata Beach, we can’t even see an end to this long-stretching white sand! There are a few paddle boarders out on the waves and even some kids in their togs (swimwear) splashing about in the waves in winter – bloody Kiwis. For once, we are not envious as we remain on dry land for just this one day.
Pacific Coast Highway mission!
We better get cracking and continue on our journey to Waihi. Oh my God… This drive is BRUTAL! Robin hauls the 3.3 ton van up the windiest hill known to man! All his effort goes into turning this beast around every relentless corner. It never seems to end!
Getting over the hill is the biggest achievement of the century. (Not an overstatement!) We stop on the side of the road for Robin to lean over the steering wheel and have a big sigh of relief, while Laura f*cks off to take pictures of the gorgeous hilly farms on the side of the road.
Welcome to Waihi Beach
Here we are at Waihi Beach Top 10 Holiday Park on what could be the busiest day of the year for this holiday park, as it is the Queen’s Birthday public holiday weekend. Waihi is a popular spot for boaties, fishermen and families. In fact, the holiday park is so full that parking into a power site is another mission! Three guys and one Laura are what it took to help Robin navigate into the space. Did we mention how this day has been an effing mission?
Time to take a relaxing stroll on Waihi Beach and let all our troubles float away and all that bullshit. They say that Waihi Beach has an amazing sunrise, but the pink colours reflecting the water at sunset is not something to complain about! Waihi Beach is notably busy (for New Zealand) with families, dogs and fishermen. It’s a cool little insight into some Kiwi family’s holiday lives. Even a family at the holiday park share their dinner with us! How kind!
Tomorrow, Robin is on sunrise duty, (poor him), where he captures that world-famous-in-New-Zealand sunrise on Waihi Beach. (See 360 image below!) Then, we have a surprise day planned with SurfSUP in Whangamata. We knew we wouldn’t stay dry for long! We have no idea what’s in store for tomorrow, so you’ll have to join us then to find out with us!
Look at that for a sunrise!
Look at that for a sunrise!
Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Look at that for a sunrise! Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Hell to the yes! In the theme of beach-hopping, check out these beaches you have to hop on in New Zealand at 22 Stunning Beaches in New Zealand. We talk about the town of Waihi on the border of the Coromandel and the Bay of Plenty in Bay of Pleny – Guide for Backpackers. To get pumped for surfing, take a look at 10 Places to Surf on the North Island.