On Wednesday, we woke up early to do some exploring. Our first stop was Cathedral Cove. We were surprised to see that there was a 45 minute hike out to the cove, but it was a nice, brisk way to start the morning. We arrived at the cove and our breath was taken away.
It looked like a mini paradise. I felt so peaceful there.
The legendary archway under the cliff:
We even discovered a little cave!
Our next stop was the infamous Hot Water Beach, where at low tide you are able to dig your own hot pool. The beach is situated right on top of some hot volcanic rock, so hot water seeps into your hole from below. Low tide was at noon, so we wanted to make sure that we got there in time. First, we stopped at a cafe for a flat white and a spade rental.
We got to meet some really cute puppies, too!
When we got to the beach, there were already people chillin in their steamy hot pools, so we got digging right away.
But the water was cold. ???? We came to discover that everyone had already taken all the good hot spots, so we were left to create a little tub wedged in between some people.
Though it wasn’t exactly the experience we had expected, it was still fascinating to feel that hot water oozing through the sand and seeing the steamy pools.
Our next stop made up for everything, though. We went to Purangi Winery for some tasting.
The winery was so rustic and full of character. A quirky, upbeat German girl who was temporarily working on the vineyard let us taste the Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. I don’t think there is anything better than a New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
If we thought the German laborer was quirky and upbeat, then we didn’t know what was coming. The guy who led the tasting was oozing life, love, and passion for all things Kiwi, with a focus on wines. He taught us so much about feijoas, manuka honey, the tourists he has met, the history of his winery, the history of Coromandel, and everything in between, with us laughing and listening with rapped attention.
We got to taste so many fantastic nectars, all of which is produced on the small premises.
- Feijoa Liquor: This had an amazing feijoa flavor! I bought a small bottle 🙂
- Plum Liquor: Very hearty plum flavor.
- Manuka Honey Liquor: Tasted like a spoonful of the honey, but with a robust kick! I also bought a small bottle 🙂
- Boysenberry Liquore: Nice and tart, sour but also sweet.
- Port Wine: Tasted like liquid wisdom.
- Lemon Gin: I don’t like gin, but David was blown away. He bought some.
- Licorice Liquor: This was SO strong but at the same time captured the licorice flavor so well.
After we had made our purchases, we simply didn’t want to leave! We ordered a pizza in the bar area to enjoy as a snack.
We got a margarita pizza with mushrooms, made fresh in their oven!
We were sad to leave, but they pointed us in the direction of the best-kept secret in Coromandel, Shakespeare Lookout. Just a two-minute walk from the driveway is the scenic lookout.
The man at the winery told us to just jump the fence and go our onto the cliff for the real view. We were slightly skeptical, but totally rewarded.
Looking over the side of the cliff!
We realized that we had left a towel in our hostel room, so we swung by the hostel on our way out of town to see if they had found it. Indeed they did, AND they washed it for us! I love that hospitable Kiwi touch 🙂
On our drive to Coromandel Town, we decided to pull over at another scenic lookout. It was nice, but also adjacent to a walkway that looked intriguing, supposedly leading to mine shafts. We ventured down the path, only to discover that it led to nowhere except the deep, dark depths of the jungle. I was 100% creeped out and just wanted out of there.
Back in the safety of the car, it was a short drive to Coromandel Town. Our first stop was The Coromandel Smoking Company.
We heard that the smoked mussels were addictive, so we knew we had to try some. The woman behind the counter even let us taste the garlic, their most popular, and the habanera, the spiciest.
We chose to get some garlic and some sweet chili as a little appetizer before we found dinner.
After checking into our hostel (we got our own room and free towels!) we gobbled us the mussels…
…and decided to just venture to the local pub for some beer and grub.
David finally got to try some Monteiths! The pub also offered a limited menu from the restaurant next door, as well as some pizza from the place on the other side. We got some fries to share and another (roasted vege) pizza to snack on. Oh! And a whittaker’s Peanut Slab (a slab of chocolate chock-full of peanuts) for dessert.
We had a fun time relaxing in the midst of locals (we even saw the people from the Smoking Company!) and decided to play a game of pool.
It was pretty close, but I’m proud to say that I won!!!
Tired and craving showers, we returned to our hostel for the night.