Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Getting into hot water

Armed with a spade from the nice man at the Peninsula motel (if you're in Whitianga stay with Jos and Gerrard at and say hi from us) and some tips about how to keep it from getting too hot, we drove off the Hot Water beach. For a couple of hours either side of low tide you can dig a hole in the sand and get hot water. The tide splashes up so you can't dig too soon and you look for bubbles in the sand for the hot and you watch out because a lot of it is too hot to stand on, and then you dig! And dig and dig as the tide washes things away, and then shore up your hole and wallow in your water. It's paddle and wallow rather than soak but it's lovely. My plan was to have a cold reservoir and a hot pool but it all came together. We had two or three hot sources and one cold to keep it balanced and the sea washed up from time to time. This is what I've been wanting to get to the Coromandel for since I first came to New Zealand and it was lovely.

It does get crowded, especially if a coach arrives and the pools build up next to another like honeycombs. We soaked and wallowed for a while then dragged our sand encrusted selves back to the cafe for bacon apricot chicken pie and bacon and egg quiche with at least five veggies lurking in it. There's a nice 'art' place with shell and stone art, strings of beads and shells, green Indonesian river rock set ito concrete pots and so on - lots of inspiration.

Then we drove past Hahei and walked to Cathedral Cove. It's the full half hour and a little more, up slopes, down slopes, through kissing gates and finally down several sets of steps but it's well worth it (and I was more tired than usual after the digging). There are a series of headlands in white stone, with emerald grass on top: the beach is nearly pink with tiny shell fragments. And the sea is blue and green, cutting the cave out into a cathdral nave and scouring round a stack, with the cliffs worn into honeycomb at the top.

On the way back we saw tui mobbed by starlings and mobbing back. The tui has two voices. Tweet tweet it starts out, tweet. But tweet tweet is followed by a rasping honk squark honk skwark.

We drove on round to ferry landing. It's a passenger ferry and it's a stones throuw across to Whitianga - you could almost wade it. But with the car we had to drive all the way back round!

Dinner at Salt. Apparantly this used to be the local pub but there's little trace of it except maybe the air freshener in the loo which is Moroccan Sunset. We had rack of veal with risotto, snapper with carrot puree (an icon of new zealand the waitress said, delicious but sometimes overpriced), a creme de cacao baba with banana sauce and macadamias, nectarine compote with sour cream and manuka honey ice cream, a rather delicious Gravity sauv blanc, an ozzie viognier and a good night's sleep.

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