Yesterday, we made the trip to visit Cathedral Cove.  It is a 75 minute trip one way from the nearest car park – with a number of very steep uphill sections.  Today was very warm and so it was a real “shirt soaker”!  Some enterprising local residents were offering parking on their drives – honk to park and part with $10 for the privilege.

​Cathedral Cove was pretty and the sound of the ocean resounding in the hollowed out rock did sound cathedral like.  Overall though, there were too many visitors there (despite the challenging walk) and we felt it was a bit over-rated.

​Nearby Hahei beach, on the other hand, was long and beautiful with very few people on it.  We took the walk up to Pa Lookout ands got a rewarding view of the pristine coastline – you can really see why this stretch is nicknamed the paradise coast.

​Ten minutes drive from Cathedral Cove is Hot Water Beach where hot water from two underground springs gushes up from 2kms below ground to the surface when you dig in the sand…


Source of the spring on Hot Water Beach

The trick is:

  1. Visit 2 hours either side of low tide (which was 7pm for us).
  2. Pick a spot that’s not too far back along the beach (where the water is very hot), but mid-way, allowing the seawater to flow in and mingle with the hot spring water to create the perfect temperature.
  3. Sand spades are available for rent at $5 a go. ​

It was pretty amazing to feel the heat of the water just a few steps from the cool ocean surf.  There is an imaginatively named cafė (?!) on the beach called Hotties – but it shuts up at 3.30 – like many other cafės in NZ., we have discovered.

Today, we walked the 2 1/2 hour loop up to the waterfall at Wentworth Valley which is worth the effort to see.  The walk up is through towering silver tree ferns (ponga) – like being in a jungle.  New finished the day on the beach and spotted a Wrybill – a bird which is only seen in NZ.

Some of the beaches have signs which give advice in the event of a tsunami – scary stuff!

Lowlight/Tips for Future Travellers:
Parking is a hefty $4 an hour at Hot Water Beach We didn’t realise until after we had paid for 3 hours parking that
you can park a little way out of the beach area easily enough.

Finding the source of the hot water spring on Hot Water beach – water reaches 60 – 66 degrees C at this point – too hot to stand on!

Flora and Fauna:
Silver tree fern (ponga), wrybill.


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