|Gina, Amy and Thomas|
So we booked a quick getaway when Air New Zealand announced the Night Rider flights had come back on special. We managed to coordinate a few days midweek that we could boost up to Auckland, visit our friend Gina and head out to her family batch in Matarangi on the Coromandel Peninsula.
We got into Auckland late on the night of March 16th, with the plan to get away early from the Vettoretti family household the next morning. We woke up early enough, but were slightly distracted by Gina's entertaining parents, and particularly Gina's dad's impressive drone! We had a bit of a nervous few days leading up to our trip due to the fact that the tropical storm/cyclone Irene was whipping up a fury in the Pacific, there was some terrific rainfall predicted for the Auckland area. But the entire time we were blessed with perfect blue skies and temperatures in the mid twenties.
After our late start, we made good time and as soon as we arrived at the base of the peninsula in Themes, we went all out and stocked up on supplies at the supermarket and let's just say we did eat and drink well! It was a gorgeous drive up the west coast along the Firth of Themes and we made a few little view point stops before stopping in Coromandal Town. We had a look around the quaint little town. There were lots of people about and the sun was shinning. The entire drive right from Gina's house in South Auckland; the road took us through farmland around the Firth of Themes and up and over the Coromandel mountains of the peninsula. It seemed as if we were the only ones on the whole peninsula. It seems like going midweek is an absolutely beautiful time to be there.
When we arrived at the batch, we spent a good bit of time just chilling on the beach and when a old school as 9ft long board was discovered under the batch, I was all over the big, but perfect Irene generated swell. Considering it was some of the heaviest surf I have ridden, made even more challenging by the often and even more sizable close out sets, and the fact that this board was a big beast that had no leg rope! I was stoked with the waves I caught, even if I had to swim in every time to retrieve the board and paddle all the way back out.
As I have noticed girls seem really good at passing time lying on the beach. But I can't stay still, so I headed off for a run down the beach, making it the whole 5km to the estuary mouth and trudged on back again with multiple swims along the way. That evening we had a good explore round Matarangi, checking out all the housing areas, the estuary and headed up the hill right on the point for a nice unset view.
The following day we went for a big mission right up to the end of the sealed road. We stopped at Waikawau Beach for a lunch picnic where we had the whole beach to ourselves. We stayed for quite awhile, throwing a Frisbee around and just laying in the sand. Absolute pure serenity! We continued further round the coast making a loop back to Matarangi. Back at the batch, we spent more time at the beach there, and Amy even had a turn on the surfboard this day, as the waves were cooling off after the storm. At night, same as the one before, we all contributed to making a delicious dinner, and had some drinks and played some music and games. After a few of those drinks, we opted to head back to the beach to check out the stars. To the sound of the waves crashing in the background, the three of us laid in the sand for almost an hour, totally in awe of the most spectacular display of the starts and the galaxy that we've ever seen.
Our flight on the last day was not till 9.30pm, so we had the whole day to slowly journey back to Auckland. We closed up the batch after a meticulous clean-up. We headed south down the east side of the Coromandel through Whitianga, stopping for milkshakes, on to Hot Water Beach, where to Amy's dismay we discovered our timing was off and we missed the necessary low tide to make hot pools in the sand. We made it to the Cathedral Caves and I mistakenly took my holiday 'no shoes, no problems' ideology along for the 40 minute each way walk to the bays and caves. However, it was a 'slight problem' on the gravel paths for my poor little feet, ouch! The main cave was amazing and a real awe inspiring place. A great last memory of our first visit to the Coromandel. We will sure be heading back one day!