Coromandel Peninsula

February 29, 2012 by Jeramie

7:15 am – Trucks tearing by at high speeds is possibly my favorite alarm clock. For one it gets me up earlier than I would, depending where I’m parked. On a busy highway, it’ll wake me at any hour as soon as my body’s had a bit of rest, and is ready for what is inevitably a long journey. In a town or city it’s somewhere around 5 am, which is just right for waking up and watching the town come to life. And out in the middle of nowhere, it’s somewhere after 7am when the truckers have gotten up, and gotten their rigs moving out of town towards their first destination of the day. This morning it set us out on the road, ourselves bound for what was hailed as the most beautiful beach on the north island. Enroute I watched grazing cattle and sheep through thick blankets of fog sitting heavy in the valley as we descended from high in the forest. Side note: Sheep in a rainforest: so unexpected, interesting, yet fitting once you get used to the image.

Cathedral Cove is an absolutely stunning beach, but it is also preceded on your hike by Gemstone and Stingray Bays, both gorgeous in their own right. Two beaches at the cove are connected by a huge arching tunnel, that really does feel quite like a cathedral. We took to the water for a bit, and headed out along one of the cliff sides to a small opening. As you swim into the tunnel the waves toss you back and forth in and out of the tunnel, making you constantly weary of bashing against the sides. As you make your way into the darkness though, the tunnel opens up wide to a secluded cave beach. I hate to say it but… Sweet as!

On our way back we stopped in Stingray Bay to have a bite and wait out some rain, jumped when the sun came back and up to the van just in time for the next wave to come down. Back on the road and headed to Te Aroha to check out a century and a half old gold mining operation.

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