Road Trip To Coromandel, New Zealand
Heading to Waikino.
If you have some time in Auckland, you could do a quick road trip to the next town like we did. My mum had to leave for Kuala Lumpur and couldn’t join us for this road trip to Coromandel, which is to the east of Auckland. The journey was close to 4 hours there and another 4 hours back with my dad behind the wheels. We started early, right after breakfast and made our way to the north first stopping at a row of shops in one of the towns. Although I can’t remember the location of the town but I did remember a Salvation Army and cute vintage store which sold many items for cheap! The owner at the vintage store was a friendly elderly lady who had asked where we were from and where we were heading to. She mentioned that there would be a vintage car event the next day in town but too bad we wouldn’t be able to go there. We did however make it to a few stops for the day.
Waikino Station Cafe
We arrived in Waikino 3 hours later, a place which was established as a battery town for Victoria Battery. The battery was built here because two large rivers and a large stream was available for water power. Gold ore was brought in from Waihi on a private railway known as the rake line. The Waikino Station building itself is not original. It was moved here from Paeroa and restored. It is a fine example of railway architecture from the 20th century. The journey by vintage train, takes in the country side with views of the Ohinemuri River along the way. It is also bicycle and dog friendly as they provide fresh water and grassy rest area for them. Unfortunately the train was not operating that day and we settled for scones and coffee at the Station Cafe instead. The interior was vintage too and divided into a Boardroom (dining area) and the Engine room (kitchen). Once we got our food we sat outside to enjoy the cool air.
The Gorge is listed as one out of 101 things to do in New Zealand. If you have more time here, you could visit the rich history hidden in the gorge or cycle the Hauraki Rail Trail. The major highlight of the trail can be accessed from different spots such as Thames, Paeroa, Waihi or Te Aroha which can be completed over 3 days. You could explore the relics of how gold was extracted, the tunnels, the roasting pit, and the remnants of the huge stamper battery processing plant here. We didn’t have 3 days at this specific spot though so we passed by, took some photos and went our way up north to the next stop.
Whenuakite Kiwi Zone
We drove another hour up north to a lookout point on State Highway 25, north of Tairua. This is where the Whenuakite Kiwi Zone was located, 230 meters above sea level overlooking the Alderman Islands. Animals such as wild cats, possums, pigs and goats pose a threat to the kiwi wild life. This lookout has information boards explaining the life cycle of the kiwi bird and its’ habitat. There’s also a donation box to help fund the removal of predators to save this flightless bird. If there’s not much care for these birds, it may soon disappear from the world. If you happen to see them on the road, try to avoid them and lead them slowly back to nature.
Hot Water Beach
Who would have expected hot water running beneath this cool sandy beach in Coromandel. The weather was cooling and the breeze made us shiver a little but the natural heated mineral water escaping to the surface gave us warmth. We saw a surf shop and rented a surf board, buckets, spades to dig ourselves a small pool. Many people were already there during low tide, digging until the hot water surrounded them. We found a spot and started digging too but it was just a small pool compared to others beside us. Some even fit 10 people in one area. The water could go up as hot as 64 degrees Celcius so you have to be careful so that you have a nice warm temperature instead of a burning one. Once you have your spot, just relax and soak in the thermal water like we did. Once you’re done, you could walk along the sandy beach or find secluded spots for quiet, sleepy sunbathing.
It was close to night when we arrived at Cathedral Cove and unfortunately it was closed for the day. We did however go to the viewing area near the car park watching the sunset go down in this beautiful place. Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve or also known as Te Whanganui- A-Hei has a cathedral-like arch which gives the area a grandeur feeling. It takes an hour and 15 minutes to walk all the way to the cove starting from Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay. Just off the beach is a large rock known as Te Hoho which has been sculpted by wind and water. There’s a boat tour and caving activities if you plan your trip earlier, otherwise you could enjoy the sandy beach and picnic on the shore instead.
1. Waikino Station Cafe: Waikino Station Cafe, State Highway 2, Waikino
2. Karangahake Gorge: State Highway 2, Waikino
3. Whenuakite Kiwi Zone: State Highway 25, Coromandel Peninsula
4. Hot Water Beach: 3591, Coromandel Peninsula
5. Cathedral Cove: Coromandel
About Yafieda Jamil
A Malaysian girl currently working abroad in Phnom Penh city. I love a good road trip, hot cappuccinos, spicy food and staring at old buildings. My mission is to inspire people to see the world differently before we all get any older. Oh and giraffes are the most beautiful creatures on earth.