We had a lot of driving to do in the morning, all the way back through Auckland and then east on State Highways 2 and 25 towards the Coromandel region.
Just after lunch we visited Hot Water Beach where a geothermal spring deposits hot water just under the surface of the sand. By digging down a little it’s possible to create small pools of steaming water right next to the sea. The phenomenon attracts a lot of tourists to a small section of the beach at the same time (during low tide) so it was extremely crowded when we arrived and we decided not to stay for too long.
Next we drove up to Hahei beach, just 5 minutes away, for some sea kayaking. This took us along the coast via Gemstone Bay, Stingray Bay, and finished at the very picturesque Cathedral Cove. We warmed up with some hot drinks on the beach before starting the journey back, which took us further out to sea with plenty of waves and a strong wind. This was another highlight of our trip so far.
We camped overnight for free in the Cathedral Cove Recreation Reserve, which is essentially a car park with a great view.