We spent most of the day driving and managed to get around the coast of the Coromandel. We stopped off at Cathedral Cove, a popular small white beach with a spectacular cove. The cove had been formed over many years from the sea eroding the cliff. However, you were unable to walk underneath it due to restrictions. But it was nice to sit down and admire the view after a nice walk from the car park.
After this short break, we arrived mid-afternoon at a Top 10 campsite near Hot Water Beach on the ast coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. In Chile, we had met a very nice couple who were doing our trip in reverse. Having already experienced the whole campervanning in New Zealand, they gave us a top 10 card which they had bought and enabled us to receive a 10% discount every time we stayed in a top 10. The top 10 campsites are located all round the country and although fairly pricey (but cheaper than a hostel), the facilities were great and very clean, more like a little resort, luxury compared with the DOC sites. We paid NZ$37.80 for the night including our 10% discount.
Outside the reception area, there was a sign which said that low tide was at 5.30pm today. The Hot Water beach has underground hot springs and so when it is low tide, you are able to dig holes on the beach until you find warm water to bathe in – a popular geothermal attraction for locals as well as tourists.
Because we had a top 10 card, we were able to hire a spade from the campsite for free! It was drizzly and rather grey but if you’re going to get wet anyway, we didn’t really mind going to the beach. So armed with our little spade, we drove down to the beach (just a 5 minute drive) where around 30 people had already gathered and were already digging away. Some had even made their own little pool and were just relaxing away watching the rest of us digging with a massive grin on their faces. We found a patch and began digging away. Because we only had one spade, one of us had to use our hands but we kept swapping to make it fair.
Eventually we managed to create a rather shallow pool but the water was only luke warm. Then luck would have it that a couple of guys next to us abandoned their pool which was pretty good so we stole theirs and carried on digging. This was much better than ours!
After an hour or so, we decided to head back and get a warm shower. In the evening, we made a little meal using the top 10’s communcal kitchen before settling down to watch the Wales vs Fiji match with Wales trumping Fiji by 66-0. We sat with another English couple who had recently moved to Australia and they ended up buying a massive portion of fish and chips each sold on-site. After dinner, temptation got the better of us and we bought a portion of chips to share.
After the Wales match, we watched the Ireland vs Italy with Ireland coming out on top with a scoreline of 36-8 so a great night for us Brits! It was a relatively easy evening before heading to bed in our little Jucy camper.