Whitianga

We both had a wonderful night’s sleep in this cute cottage. We had bit of breakfast then slipped on our bathing suits with clothes on top and headed out about 8:30. Today’s calendar had a visit to Hot Water Beach first and foremost. A half hour’s drive had us arriving at the beach, finding the car park and actually being able to figure out the pay stand.

Now this is no ordinary beach. It is just what its name implies, as the beach lies over a hot springs. One must go between two hours before and no more than two hours after low tide. Before we left Thames we had made a quick stop at the i-site for information on the peninsula. The young woman there was kind enough to fill us in on the tide schedule so we knew when to arrive. We shed our clothes and wandered down onto the beach where we were met with sand as soft as silk. We could see where we needed to head as everyone there was congregated in one area. You must bring or rent a spade (our hosts were kind enough to lend us one) as the thing to do is to go down by the water’s edge, dig a pool in the sand and allow it to fill up with water from underground. It comes up surprisingly warm and in some places very hot. Then, once you have a pool you climb in and soak like in a hot tub. How cool is that? Luckily for us beach goers come and go. We found an abandoned pool and tried it out. Fairly good but only barely luke warm. Then, a young family decided to leave the next pool over, which was larger and warmer and they asked if we’d like to take it over. Well, yes, thank you! It was heavenly. We had settled in to our personal little space when an older couple approached and asked about the lay of the land. We clued them in. They began to dig a hole for themselves, but even using our shovel as well as their own they didn’t make much progress. Instead we invited them to join us in ours. A lovely couple from York, England.

After awhile the tide started coming in and quickly destroyed the pools closest to the water. We decided that was our hint it was time to call it quits. We slowly left our cozy spot and walked back down the beach to the car and time to clean ourselves up a bit from all the sand.

Once done we headed up the coast to Hahei, where we were hoping to get a chance to see Cathedral Cove. There’s no parking out there so we had to stop at a free car park, then pay for a shuttle bus to take us in. Unfortunately once we got there we learned that the water taxi we were planning on taking to the Cove was not running today. Darn the bad luck. But the good news was that we had beautiful views from there and, in a month of traveling here, that was our first disappointment. Not bad. We bought lunch from a food truck, eating and enjoying the view. We eventually took the shuttle back to the car park and headed back to the house.

We needed to sort through our things and do some packing up, as over the course of the month things have been strewn all over the car. Tomorrow will be our last driving day as we are heading to Auckland and don’t intend on bringing the car into the city. Once I finished up I enjoyed sitting outside listening to the noises of the chickens. Once I knelt down by their cage they got over their reticence and came over all lined up to check me out. So amusing.

We have so thoroughly enjoyed our hosts, Annemarie and Frederick, that we asked if they would join us for dinner. Happily they agreed. We had them suggest the restaurant so we went to an Indian / Thai place. Everything was delicious! But best of all was the sharing of life stories. We are hoping we’ve convinced them to come to the States to visit us so we can return the hospitality.

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