Obligatory trip to Hot Water Beach today, exactly as it was seven years ago. Cafe as good (beetroot salad – brain food – need it!) Then onto the beach and the crowds of people huddles together around the hot bit, all digging holes and sitting in them.
A hot spring hits the surface just under the beach and runs off into the sea, still just under the surface. In places the sand is warm to the touch. Dig a bit to get to the water and it is hot. So hot in places that you can easily scold yourself. We saw one man hopping around after he had clearly stepped into something not quite at the temperature he’d thought.
Then we walked along the rest of the (pretty much deserted) beach. It was very windy and the sand blew across. Rip tides and a steep shelving beach make this dangerous to swim but it is a lovely beach.
Had a fairly lazy couple of days at Water’s Edge.
We went to Cooks Beach across the estuary to look at where we were staying from the opposite side. This beach was lovely at each end – one end by the estuary, the other by the bush. In between, the beach is good but it is backed by houses, probably holiday homes, most of which appeared empty (very quiet).
We had lunch at a winery. Very pleasant. Resisted the wine tasting option as it was lunchtime and I was driving. Boring!
Most of the rest of the time was spent relaxing.
On departure from the cottage we went to Tairua and Pauanui which commands a spectacular (sorry to keep using these words) position on the Harbour at the end of the Tairua River and is dominated by Paku Hill – another volcano.
We climbed to the top for more s views of the town, harbour, islands out to sea, and the ocean beach.
We also visited Te Karo Beach to view the seaman’s grave – the grave of a seaman killed while they were working to collect Kauri Trees logged for use as ship masts. Look up Kauri Trees – they are amazing.
We had a nice slightly chaotic meal in the evening and next day we headed for the airport for the trip back to Australia.
On the way we visited the Firth of Thames at Kaiaua – west side of the Firth, east coast of NZ to see the birds. We didn’t have long enough here but enough to mark it down to visit next time.
Amazingly as we were looking out, behind us there passed the same group of Rolls and Bentleys that we had seen in Christchurch on our first day twenty-five days previously. They shot past us heading north, as we were, and this was really quite a small road so quite a coincidence. Hard to believe.
Had delicious ice-creams – one fig and honey flavours, the other maple and walnut. Delish! Then onto the airport for the final leg.
If you are reading this thanks for sticking with it. Don’t know how you’ve managed!