The Coromandel Peninsula is where the New Zealanders go on vacation. It’s not to far from Auckland and the coastline is spectacular.
To get there from Rotarua we had to drive through Middle Earth! You can stop and do some Hobbit Tours etc. but it’s not our thing so that whole aspect of New Zealand is lost on us.
Instead, for our en-route adventure, we choose to visit Wairere Falls, a 45 minute walk each way, steep uphill to get there but really worth it.
It was a little disconcerting that the river had flooded onto the trail. “Flash flood” whispered in the back of my mind. If the rain had come on we’d have scarpered out of there straight away.
The river was running at full spate – hardly surprising given the amount of rain we’d had.
Along the way, there were pretty mini falls. Each one had us wondering, “Is this it?”
But the trail is a full 45 minutes long (unless you are a super athlete). Anything you come to before that is simply an appetizer for the main event which you will know you’ve come to as soon as you see it. You hear the thundering of the water first.
It’s nice because it feels remote. There isn’t a throng of tourists pushing to get that perfect shot.
Unlike our next stop – Cathedral Cove. It’s a 1.5 hr easy walk, but finding somewhere to park at the trail-head can be challenge due to sheer numbers of tourists. The trail to the cove feels like walking to a football match or concert – there’s so many people. The upside was that we had good craic with the people around us. The trail was very muddy in places and those wearing flipflops provided entertainment for the rest of us! Everyone was in good humor and it was a fun encounter.
Cathedral Cove is beautiful, if crowded.
The caves and rock formations are massive and very impressive, so the tourist draw is pretty obvious.
It had been a pretty full day of hiking and by the time we pulled into Coromandel town, to stop for the night, the sun was staining the ocean pink.
The town was delightful with lots of lovely accommodation and restaurant choices. Again, I could have stayed here longer, but the next morning we would be up and out on the road first thing. Such is New Zealand – enough is never enough!