27th July and 28th July
Off to Hot Water Beach
Kirsten and I had decided to take Harvey (now 10wks old) on an overnight trip to an amptly named Hot Water Beach. Apparently hot water springs emerge right on the edge of the beach and at low tide you head down with your spade and dig yourself your own personal hot tub!!
So after Harvey had his morning feed, was burped and settled in for a nap, we packed up the car and headed out by 8am. The first low tide was at 9.15am and you have about 2hrs on either side of the low tide where you can still create your hot tub. With a 2hr drive ahead of us we were not sure if we would make the first low tide. If not we would have to wait till tomorrow’s at 10.30am.
We drove from Auckland area over to the Coromandel Peninsula and I was wow’ed by the landscape. Truly amazing, kind of Ireland/Oregon and South Africa mixed in one. We drove through native forests and made our way down to the east coast. Pulling in around 10am we decided to check in and go explore the area, leaving the make your own hot tub for the morning.
We had booked into the “Deluxe Villa”, a super cute A-Frame structure, made out of pine with a self contained kitchen, bathroom, queen size bed and 2 singles on the upper level.
After settling in and giving his lordship his next meal, we set off to explore some key spots on the peninsula. First stop a short stroll to cathedral Cove… or so we thought. Kirsten swears blind the cove was closer last time she was there, then again there may have been alcohol involved then. But now as the responsible adults we are today, well at least she is, we unpacked the off-road buggy, loaded in his lordship and headed out convinced the cove was just round the corner and down a flight of stairs or two (at least thats what the park warden said). Well it turns out the cove was about 1.5km (1 mile), down and up rather eroded paths, over a sty in the fence (the buggy wouldn’t fit through) and then we were faced with about 100 stairs straight down. We opted to abandon buggy and walk down. But it was well worth it, Cathedral Cove was stunning.
We definately felt like we had done some work when we eventually made it to the top of the hill again. After some snacks for everyone we headed back to relax and nap at our “Deluxe Villa”. We had put the heater on and the place was wonderfully toasty, unfortunately heat rises which meant my 2nd level abode was on the stuffy side, but it didn’t hinder my napping too much.
After a healthy dinner of veggies and pasta we settled down to watch Master Chef Australia and dig into the yummy cookies Kirsten had bought. Cookies with a layer of caramel topped with marshmallow dipped in chocolate, there is a heaven!
Finally it was bed time, although Harvey had by now realised we weren’t in his castle and was fussing quite a bit. He eventually settled down around 11.30pm. Once again he had impeccable timing and his first fussing was timed perfectly with a bathroom run, luckily he went back to sleep. I went back upstairs and realised that it was nearing unbearable with the stuffiness and I wondered why there was a small fan upstairs to dissipate the heat (please note there was a giant ceiling fan, but I had not put 2 and 2 together yet). So I went and curled up on the fairly comfy floor with some pillows next to the other bed, I didn’t want to wake Kirsten by getting into it. After about 30min Harvey’s feeding timer went off in his head and he wanted dinner, NOW!
Kirsten for some reason decided to roll all the way across the bed and almost stood on me to get up, it was all rather amusing. At that point the whole room was getting stuffy so we decided to put the main fan on. Within seconds the whole place felt better as the warm air was now circulating around the “Deluxe Villa” instead of stagnating upstairs. A fan… what a novel concept.
Woohoo Dig Your Own Spa Day
We rose early!
We fed all three of us!
We got changed into appropriate swimming attire!
We grabbed the spade!
And sped off to the beach! (at an safe speed with baby on board)
Oh what a glorious morning. The sun was shining, just a few clouds in the sky, no one on the beach. We were early enough to beat the crowds but not to early to have to wait for the tide to go out. After crossing the freezing cold stream carrying the off-road baby buggy between the beach and parking lot, and after the feeling returned to our feet we went in search of hot water seeping from through the sand.
After digging a few holes and finding only cold water seeping through, I started to feel discouraged and thinking maybe we were too early for the tide. So we decided to walk along the beach, 3 steps later I spotted a steam cloud rising from the sand. Woohoo! We had struck geothermal hot spring activity! And boy was it hot.
I dug a small to medium hole and jumped in feet first (it was actually just big enough for my feet). I then rapidly jumped out as the water coming directly from the spring was bloody piping hot! Fancy that. As Kirsten and I tentatively stared at the hole with confounded expressions as we contemplated our dilemma a local walked past with her dog. She took one look at us and said “if it’s too hot move to the left”. Ahhhhhhh! Yes the lightbulbs went off, why didn’t we think of that. So stepping to the left I dug in, literally and oh what a wonder it was to play in the sand. Usually beachsand is my least favorite part of the beach, but for some reason digging for a self made hot tub was like building sand castles at age 5, I was in heaven.
As we were finishing up throngs started to arrive, well maybe 10 people. A pair of German girls were attempting to dig their hot tub with a piece of driftwood, I offered them mine. Others were digging holes, testing water and then digging a new hole, most likely the thought of crowding in together didn’t appeal to them. But then again the hot water stream only runs so wide.
After a stroll on the beach we headed back to pack the car and drive around the area. The best stop being a macadamia nut farm where we got the best chocolate covered macadamias I have ever tasted.
The way home was very twisty windy, but the views were spectacular. We just barely beat the rain home to relax and unwind. Poor Harvey was so confused as to where he was he tried to complain and then simply fell asleep.
This is my favorite memory: