Day 21 – Hot Water Beach to Whitianga

Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016

Hot Water Beach  to Whitianga

I was lazy last night and had booked a cabin because it was supposed to rain all night. I had a nice evening and a good night’s sleep without having to put up the tent in the rain and have a soggy night. It was damp and a little cool when I woke up.

We had a light breakfast and slowly made our way to Cathedral Cove. We had found out that Monday was a holiday in New Zealand and it explained why everything was busier. We had a bit of a traffic jam on the way to the cove because there was a ” Leadfoot Festival ” for car enthusiasts being held in a park area and the hillsides were filling up with cars.

We arrived at the carpark for Cathedral Cove, 2 hours before low tide so I had a Cappuccino while we waited to go to the cove.

It is a 40 minute walk from the upper carpark to the cove and we expected to walk along the beach, however, we were surprised to find out that the trail wound down, then up gain before going steeply down to one side of the beach area that goes through the cove at low tide.

This is a view of entering the beach area.

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This is a view from that beach through the cave.

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This is a view of the other beach from inside the cave.

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When I went through the cave, I went into the water. It was warm and there was nice beach sand underfoot.

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It was also wavy as indicated by these photos taken in the water toward the beach. You can’t see the beach in this picture because the angle of the camera is just above the water.

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This picture is a side view of a wave as it made its way towards the beach.

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I could have stayed there longer and spent some time on the beach but the tide was starting to rise so we headed back to the car and we drove to Whitianga.

When we got to Whitianga, we obtained a site at the Harbourside Holiday campground and then went to town for a late lunch at the Epsy Cafe. We talked to the owner and found out that he had sold his ” fish and chips ” business and had bought this cafe. His daughter had opened up a specialty chocolate business that caters to businesses, such as hotels, by making small chocolates with logos and company insignia’s on them.

We were going to go back to the campsite but decided to take the water taxi across the bay to Cook’s Bay.

As we walked up the road to the lighthouse, a man stopped us and told us that we would not be able to go beyond the cut-de-sac, but he invited us to take pictures from his back yard which had a beautiful view of Maramaratotara Bay, just north of Cook’s Bay.

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We started to head back to the ferry landing but got side-tracked on another trail ( go figure! ) and we were able to get some beautiful views of Whiting. From this view you can see the water taxi in the centre, our white van on the road, just right of the Epsy cafe.

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We hiked back to the ferry landing and took it back to the van and drove back to the campsite.

I was asked to give some information about New Zealand. Canada is 37 times larger than New Zealand and it has 7 times the population. To get a summary of the differences you can go to http://country-facts.findthedata.com/compare/31-130/Canada-vs-New-Zealand .

From what I have witnessed, New Zealand is very similar to Canadian and the quality of life is similar. The people are generally very polite, especially in traffic.

1. New Zealand is a warmer condensed version of Canada. They have mountains, valleys and seashores but in a much smaller land mass.
2. They seldom get freezing conditions except in the higher elevations and most of the country does not get much below freezing for any length of time.
3. Their houses generally have no basements, because they don’t have freezing. Most of them are one story units with siding and they cost a lot more than houses in our area but less than the ones in the Vancouver or Toronto area.
4. Their politics are similar. I won’t expound on that.
5. Their health care doesn’t seem to be as good as Canada’s according to people I have talked to.
6. They are self-sufficient. They have plenty of agriculture, farming and raw materials.
7. They have no dangerous animals, possibly because they are very strict about importation. Australia has all of the dangerous spiders, snakes, frogs, etc.
8. They are eco-conscious, similar to Canada. They recycle almost everything and have different bins for different materials.
9. Like Canada, they use metric units.
10. One difference is that they drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits in the ” right ” side of the car ( as someone pointed out to me, to which I pointed out that we drive on the right side!), the signals are on the right side of the steering wheel and the wipers are on the left. There are several streets signs saying ” Keep Left, It’s That Simple “.
11. They have a lot of roundabouts, much more than Canada. I like using them. They also have more ” Give Way ” signs rather than ” STOP ” signs and lights.
12. They have a lot ( and I mean a lot ! ) of single lane bridges, where one direction has to ” give way ” to the other direction.
13. They love their coffee and chocolate and so do I. They also love their ice-cream and so does Cheryl. Their Coffee, chocolate and ice-cream are all very good!
14. The food is good but a little expensive. Most meals would cost $25 per person or more without drinks because you are not expected to tip.
15. There is generally no tipping. I tried to give a tip once but the waitress said that tipping is not a standard practice in New Zealand and gave it back. I only found one place that had a ” tip ” jar. The staff in the restaurants and the guides on tours are paid well enough that they don’t need to rely on tips.
16. Their money is worth almost as much as the Canadian dollar.
17. The North Island is much more populated and busy than the South Island.
18. The weather is similar to Canada but not as extreme.

Remember, these are only my impressions from my experiences and my conversations with the locals.

2 thoughts on “Day 21 – Hot Water Beach to Whitianga

  1. Once again Ralf, it’s a pleasure to be able to follow your journey as you travel through our favourite destination. Your observations are interesting and we have much to compare when you return to Canada! Cheers on getting to Cathedral Cove! So many wonderful experiences that surely will sink in on you long after you get home. Continued safe travels. We leave for L.A. on Tuesday to work the US Olympic Marathon Trials and the L.A. Marathon next weekend. STILL hope to be able to follow your blog!

    1. Thanks Les,

      It would be interesting to compare notes since you have much more experience traveling in New Zealand and I have only my experiences to go by.

      Good Luck with the assisting with the marathons. I would be interested in hearing your experiences with them as well.

      Take Care!

      Ralf

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