Auckland to the Coromandel

After an early morning arrival in Auckland, we picked up our car and headed east to the Coromandel. We parked in Hahei, and walked about 30 minutes through sheep pastures and native forest to Cathedral Cove. We had lunch on the beach and played in the clear blue-green water. In the late afternoon, we drove south along the coast to our house on Pauanui Beach. We stayed in a house right on the wide and empty Pauanui Beach. We got burgers (with beets and carrots) and chips (fries) from Pauanui Takeaways twice; the only restaurants were booked due to Valentine's Day.
We walked on a farm road between sheep pastures toward Cathedral Cove.
We walked through the natural arch to get to Cathedral Cove.
The trail went around this tree growing over a rock.
We found another shady spot on Mares Leg Cove, south of the arch.
Trees grew all over the steep cliffs backing the beach.
We swam out to this rock and jumped off into the clear blue-green water.

playing in the surf in Mares Leg Cove

Looking south from Mares Leg Cove

Evan found a sea cave on the south side of the cove.

A freshwater waterfall trickled down vines.

looking straight up the vine waterfall

looking north along Mares Leg Cove toward the arch
The white rocks really stood out against the beautiful blue green water.
We had lunch on the beach under jungle-like trees and roots.
The trail went up quickly to a great view over tree ferns to the water.
We ate dinner from Pauanui Takeaways on our deck overlooking the beach. We went there again another night because the only other Pauanui restaurant was full.
Our dryer had unfamiliar settings: cupboard dry and iron dry.

Canyoning in Coromandel Forest Park

We met our Canyonz guides at the Kauaeranga Visitor Centre in Coromandel Forest Park. After putting on wetsuits and climbing gear, we hiked, boulder-hopped, and scrambled for about an hour through thick ferns, palms, and kauri trees. We jumped off a rock into a pool below a waterfall, then had lunch and practiced our abseil skills. After jumping back into the river, we made our way down waterfalls and through dark deep pools. Our amazing guides set up abseil lines and ziplines, and helped us fly through the air in the beautiful Sleeping God Canyon.
The windy roads on the Coromandel had frequent slow vehicle bays to allow passing.
We hiked through ferns, palms, and kauri trees alongside the river.
We walked upstream in the river and over boulders.
walking upstream in the Sleeping God Canyon
Some parts of the trail were a steep scramble.
We used a rope to help us climb up.
Evan was excited to clip on and climb up the rock.
We clipped our harness to the line as we moved along a narrow trail alongside a steep gorge.
We stopped for lunch overlooking this waterfall.
Evan is ready to jump off the cliff into the pool.
A logged kauri is stuck between the waterfall and the pool under the jumping rock.
Evan about the start abseiling down the first waterfall.
Paul starting down the first waterfall.
We abseiled a short way down, then zip lined across the second waterfall.
We ziplined down and across this waterfall.
Evan considers his jump.
We were clipped onto a safety line while waiting to descend.
Evan was excited to abseil down a waterfall and jump into a pool.
Paul abseiled down the cliff and ziplined into the pool.
Evan in flight.
swim-walking out of Sleeping God Canyon
We slid down a small waterfall into a shallow pool with our guides' help.
We saw little rabbits just outside our house.
Evan went swimming from Pauanui Beach.
looking north along Pauanui Beach toward Tairua
roundabout in front of the Pauanui shopping center

Coromandel Coast

After walking along Pauanui Beach in the morning, we drove inland and then back out to the town of Tairua. We climbed the short trail to the top of Mt. Paku for an amazing view of Pauanui and offshore islands. Next, we went back to Hahei, and walked to Gemstone Bay to go snorkeling. We drove to nearby Hot Water Beach at low tide, rented a spade, and dug ourselves a hot pool in the sand.
Evan found a shelter as we walked along Pauanui Beach
Most of the bridges on the Coromandel were one lane.
Evan liked being able to climb rocks in the trail near the summit of Mt. Paku.
panorama from the top of Mt. Paku
From the top, we could see our bright blue car in the parking lot.
looking toward Pauanui from the summut of Mt. Paku
The survey marker at the top of Mt. Paku is part of New Zealand's geodetic system.
looking south of Tairua from near the top of Mt. Paku
We walked along Hahei Beach on the Cathedral Cove trail.
The trail climbed steeply to a view south along Hahei Beach.
We went snorkeling in Gemstone Bay.
The Gemstone Bay snorkel trail has four buoys with handles.
We saw a California quail with tiny baby chicks on the trail back from Gemstone Bay.
view from the parking shuttle stop
We found a patch of sand with both hot (60°C) and cool water sources.

Broken Hills

We played in the surf outside our house in the morning, then checked out and started south toward Rotorua via the Broken Hills. We climbed a steep trail up to an abandoned mine tunnel. We walked 500m through the tunnel, with lots of stops to see glow worms. Along the way back, we hiked to a lookout point where we could see the Pacific.
We crossed a stream to get to the trailhead.
We had meat pies for lunch on the trail.
We walked through a forest of giant tree ferns.
Some of the trail was stairs up the hill.
Evan found the entrance to an abandoned mine tunnel; we walked to where it was boarded up.
We saw giant cave weta along the walls of the tunnel.
We got out our lights at the entrance to a 500m long mine tunnel, dug in a failed attempt to mine quartz.
The first few meters of the tunnel required ducking a bit.
Once we got into the dark away from the entrace, we saw glow worms on the ceiling.
We turned on our light to see the gnat larva producing the glow.
Glow worms on the ceiling with the mine entrance in the distance.
approaching the west end of the mine tunnel
We exited the west end of the tunnel into thick forest.
Triangles on the trees helped us follow the trail.
looking east toward the Pacific
The trail from the viewpoint looked like it vanished over the edge.
We stopped in Paeroa for L&Ps and a photo. L&P was originally made from lemon juice and carbonated mineral water from Paeroa, and is "world famous in New Zealand."