I took a couple of days off and took off to Coromandel with the family --- we needed to do something with the kids during the school holidays, and I haven't been out that way for a very long time.
On Thursday we drove to Clevedon, then to Kawakawa and around the coast to Waharau Regional Park for a short walk. We carried on around the Firth of Thames, taking a lunch stop near Thames, then continued north to Coromandel town. The road from Thames to Coromandel town is mostly right next to the shore and very pretty. (See the first picture below.)
We stopped at Coromandel town for a bit and then crossed the peninsula to Whitianga where we stayed in a motel, right across the road from the beach. Despite being the school holidays, the whole place was very quiet. I guess it's still a bit early in the season, or maybe it's the dreaded Financial Crisis. Anyway, it was lovely.
On Friday we drove around to Hahei and did the walk to Cathedral Cove (see second picture below). There's nothing to say about that that hasn't already been said --- amazing etc. Kayaking around it would be a great way to go but the kids aren't up to that yet. Had lunch on Hahei beach, then went back to Whitianga, took the ferry to the south side of the harbour and walked to the pa site on Whitianga Rock, then past Maramatotara Bay, up the hill and along the ridge to Flaxmill Bay and back to the ferry.
It's neat how the eastern and western Coromandel coasts have their own flavours. The eastern coast has the Pacific outlook and the best beaches, but the western coast has a bit more character.
This morning we drove back along the southern route, crossing the Coromandel Ranges near Tairua. We came pretty much straight back --- only took about two-and-a-half hours, so with a leisurely start we still got back to Auckland in time for yum cha. I love living here :-).