"" Writer's Wanderings: New Zealand Diary - Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

New Zealand Diary - Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Breakfast turns out to be very good and we decide to buy some coffee both decaf and regular so that we can make our own. Most places make espresso which neither of us likes and where we have been traveling hasn’t had a lot of McDonald’s to get something that tastes closer to home.

Our drive is not as long today since Lady Garmon behaves. The sun is welcoming although a cool and sometimes chilly breeze confirms the cold front that is predicted to come our way soon. If it will just hold off until after our planned beach experience, it will be great.

Spring is breaking out all over and while they don’t get really hard winters here on the North Island, you can still see lots of trees that had lost their leaves and are now taking on that wonderful spring green and reddish color that comes from new growth. Seasonal flowers are in bloom. Wisteria blankets fences. Calla lilies and snow drop flowers carpet the roadsides. There is an occasional garden where a hot pink flower blooms. I haven’t yet gotten close enough to see what it is. The Kiwis are friendly but I wouldn’t want to impose by invading a garden I wasn’t invited to enter.

The sign for the Cathedral Cove walk signals it’s time to stop and get some exercise. Along the way when we stopped for coffee a the young lady asked our plans. Her comment was, “Cathedral Cove? That’s a bit rugged.” So I am a little concerned. She was young and considered it rugged. I’m a bit old and, well, we shall see.

It turns out to be a challenge but worth the twenty-five minute walk/climb to the shore. The “cathedral” is a huge arch carved in the rocky shoreline. There is a small beach being enjoyed by some of the younger people. Or is that older people trying to get the energy for the climb back up those steps that led all the way down here?

The walk back to the car park is longer with a few more rest stops to catch my breath and calm my heart rate since much of it is uphill and up steps. We chat along the way with a couple from Germany who eventually move on ahead. We are obviously slowing them down.

I tell Lady Garmon what our next stop is and she obligingly directs us to the pink road we need to start out on. The way to our motel leads us past our afternoon excursion, Hot Water Beach. We turn off to check it out and find that there are two places to park, one in town and one at the other end of the beach. The beach itself stretches for quite a ways but the part that is most interesting is the area where thermal water springs up onto the beach mixing with the cool sea water.

The hot spot is reached during low tide so we move on and check into our motel. Our host gives us a shovel and some towels for the beach and says once we get there, we’ll get the hang of what’s going on. Sure enough, when we arrive at three o’clock, just a little before the actual low tide time, the small beach area is full of people digging holes in the sand.

The idea is to dig a hole about a foot or two deep, pile a little barrier around it and wait for it to fill with hot water. There’s actually little waiting. It fills pretty fast and if you dig in the right spot, you get REALLY hot water. You can actually see the places where the hottest water bubbles up. And if the sand shifts and you are standing in a stream of it, you get a hot foot real fast.

Now here is where I have to admit, it isn’t my thing. It was fascinating but I’m not a beach person. I love beaches. I just hate sitting in sand. I mostly watch Bob enjoy himself as much as the kids in the hole next to ours. They keep repairing the wall between the two pools. I must admit though that the warm water feels good on my feet and ankles as the cold front is obviously getting nearer. You can see the steam rising from the hot water as it meets the colder air.

After about an hour of play time, we give our spot to some others and head to our car. My feet are caked with sand and I’m quite sure Bob is carrying a load (of sand) in his bathing suit. We do the best we can to rid ourselves of it. When we arrive at the motel, Bob rinses off as much as possible and we spend a few minutes enjoying the spa tub that is in a small room. Not much of a view but the water feels good.

Outside our room is a long porch that extends past the several units of our building. There is a small plastic table and chairs for us to use and we set up for our dinner of takeaway Japanese food. I reheat our afternoon purchase of miso soup and katsu don over rice and we finish eating just before it starts to rain.

The rain is more of a mist and stops just long enough for us to decide to walk into town for some desert. The only thing open is the grocery store and we find Tim Tams, a delightful cookie made in Australia, and a Magnum bar. I snap a few pictures of Tairua. It’s a cute little town. The rain comes down a little heavier on our way back but it doesn’t pour until we arrive back to our room. I make coffee using the new skill I’ve acquired of coffee plunging and we enjoy our desserts in front of the TV which is showing some unusual New Zealand mystery show. Another day in the land of the Kiwis ends. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

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