Wednesday, 21st November – Whangamata

Comfortable night’s kip, although we had to have the heating on….. Awoke to bright sunshine, but a chilly 12 degrees. The weather forecast, however, was not propitious.

Great breakfast in this lovely B&B, and got talking to a couple of fellow guest Brits. Their itinerary was also arranged by Trailfinders, coincidentally, and they were equally effusive in their praise. We had a very pleasant half-hour or so exchanging experiences.

Plan was to go to the tourist info centre in Whangamata to try and put together some sort of modus operandi for the day. As soon as we set out from the B&B, it started to rain. We were attended to by Ken from Blackpool – yes, really – in the centre, who made some excellent suggestions.

Went down to the beach at Whangamata (by the way, this is pronounced Fanga-matarr for those in the know like wot we are) which was nice enough, but it was wettish. There were some intrepid surfers around though. Mad fools!

We then went north slightly to a small resort called Onemana, simply because, according to Ken from Blackpool, it had a cafe with the only sea view in the area. Decent enough cup of coffee, and it is actually quite a nice little place, although virtually deserted, and we took a short walk around a small lake/large pond. Lond? Pake? Plond? You decide…..

Then on to a place further north called Opoutere – a vast beach and a bird sanctuary. Might not sound much, but the weather was improving and there was something really tranquil about it that really appealed to both of us.

Some heron-like bird – it was certainly efficient at catching its lunch

Then even further north to Hot Water Beach. Apparently, if you dig deep enough in the sand here, you can reach hot water from volcanic activity. To be honest, we couldn’t be arsed, so took some pics of this nice spot and left.

No – this creek was NOT hot!

One final destination – Cathedral Cove, which had not been on our list at the start of the day, but apparently it is one of the most visited places in this neck of the woods and it was just up the road. No car parking available at the top of the path down to the cove, so down we went to the village at the bottom which had the “official” car park. We then took the shuttle bus up to precisely the same spot for the princely sum of $5 return each.

We – or to be more precise I – asked the shuttle bus driver how long it would take to get down to the cove. He replied that it would take around 35 minutes. Jean did not hear this, and assumed it was the time that elapsed before he returned. Matters were clarified fairly shortly as we started the very long and undulating walk down!

Jean decided to stick with it, albeit with dark comments along the lines of “this had better be worth it”…..

There were some lovely views on the way down, and the weather was still dry and reasonably clear.

I personally enjoyed the walk very much, and found the cove at the bottom to be worth it. I’m not sure Jean was quite so convinced, however.

We started the long climb back, and the air was clearing all the time, so some more pics were called for:

Apologies for the very slight finger intrusion…..
Looks like a sleeping lion, don’t you think?

This had all been way beyond what we’d expected to do today, so, somewhat knackered, we set off back south to Whangamata for a meal at the Ocean Sports Club. This had been recommended by our hostess, Sallie, so on payment of $5, we both became temporary members and ordered, eventually – the queue was very long and slow moving – a couple of burgers. These turned up surprisingly quickly and were surprisingly good. It was pissing with rain again, though…..

Thankfully returned to the B&B. And thankfully, only a short trip to our next destination, the famous Rotorua. We have plans to make some stops on the way, though. Possibly.

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