Tuesday, March 20, 2007

feb holiday 2 - coromandel, lake waikaremoana

From Raglan we headed east to stop off at a place called Te Aroha, which apparently means 'mountain of love' or lurrrrve, as Ash would say. This is a sweet little place in the shadow of said mountain which boasts lots of natural springs (doesn't everywhere in New Zealand), the uniqueness here being that these springs are alkaline. We certainly enjoyed soaking in them for a pleasant half hour.
Then up to Whitianga in the beautiful Coromandel peninsula to visit Alicia, Andy and Jemima (incredibly cute and contented). We were looked after royally, being taken out on the boat to go diving, snorkelling and catching crayfish (while i stayed on board trying not to vomit) which the boys cooked when they got home. Whilst there we also got to go to the most interesting local pub in the world, to hotwater beach (a beach where you can dig into a hot spring and sit in there with your botty all warm while the cold tide comes in, and snorkelling in the marine reserves in cathedral cove. Lovely.
We were really sorry to leave... but there were more delights in store. Rotorua, with all it's bubbling mud pools and geothermal bits and pieces, and the necessary touristy evening in a Maori village being fed and introduced to some of their culture and customs. Then on to the more isolated Lake Waikaremoana. This involved driving 100km on dirt road, an escapade that me Julie coped with admirably. The atmosphere here was amazing - we stayed in a little motor camp, miles from anything and went walking and boating and swimming in one of the smaller lakes (cold!). Following this we headed back to Wellington via Napier so that I could get my fix of nice restaurants - lovely lunch in a vineyard followed by dinner in a very vibrant jazz bar (preceded by the necessary game of mini golf).
Photos are, from top:
1. Hot geothermal stuff at Rotorua
2. Alicia, Andy and Jemima
3. Hahei beach (Coromandel)
4. Opoutere beach (Coromandel)
5. me bemused by the Maori boat used in 'The Piano' (look closely)
6. me beside Lake Waikeromoana
7. Ash doing a sterling job near Lake W