From March 5th to 19th, we spent two weeks in the Coromandel.
To visit the region, we did a HelpX in a motel in Whangamata, the Blake Court Motel.
It is owned by Rob and Glenys, a very nice couple. We had to clean rooms during an average of 2 hours a day in exchange for a room and a bathroom. Nothing too complicated, and it left us time to explore the surrounds.
We chose this option because in the Coromandel region, there is no free campsite and also because we missed having access to a shower and a kitchen on a daily basis.
On March 10th, we went to Gemstone bay. It is located 15 minutes from the car park, the beach (made of big rocks) has a pretty easy access. Located within the Te-Whanganui-a-Hei marine reserve, we realized that there was a ‘snorkel trail’: a very nice place to do some snorkelling. Jérémy went back to our car to get his gear and then, in the water! He was able to see very closely a cormoran which was drying its wings on a rock in the water and saw a lot of fishes.
On March 11th, we went to Mount Maunganui. We were pretty disappointed because we did not think it would be a big seaside resort. The mount is not amazing, and there is a huge building right next to it, which ruins the landscape. Apart from that, the beach is nice and we went for a walk during one hour.
On March 14th, we went to Cathedral Cove. A 30 to 45 minutes walk from the car park, and here you are. The beach is a bit crowded but remains pleasant. There were huge waves with which people were having fun. It is possible to explore the Te-Whanganui-a-Hei marine reserve with a kayak or by boat. Cathedral Cove is named because of the natural arch located there. The location was used in the movie ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’ and in Macklemore’s and Ryan Lewis’ music video ‘Can’t hold us’.
After that we went to Hot Water Beach but were unlucky because the tide was high, and low tide hours were not suitable for us during the next few days… At Hot Water Beach, at low tide, you can dig a hole in the sand to get your own private pool. Indeed, there is a hot spring (geothermal origin) and water can come up from the underground at a temperature which can reach 64°C.
The Coromandel is a really nice area, which weirdly made us think both to the french ‘Landes’ for its beaches but also to the french ‘Provence’ because of its lush vegetation and its rocky inlets as french ‘calanques’.