Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The beach is closed

One destination on our list was Cathedral cove on Coromandel peninsula. After miles of twisty windy road, we reached Hahei where there is a trailhead to the beach at Cathedral cove. There was a car park with a park and ride sign that looked promising, so we parked and got on the bus to the beach.
Before we could get inside the doorway, the bus driver said, just so you know, the beach is closed. The oversized surf make for crashing surf where the beach should be, so it's too dangerous right now. This bus will take you to an overlook.
We figured looking was better than nothing so we got on.

The overlook was spectacular and we could see the crashing waves. There was a walk from the overlook back to town. We took that and found a fabulous picnic spot in the shade. Otherwise it was hot. So, we didn't get to see Cathedral cove, but it was still a memorable stop.

Back on the road ... the curvy, twisty road ... with lots of views. Our destination was set to a "Freedom camping" spot in Whangamata (pronounced FungamaTAH). I found it using the Campermate app not knowing what we would find. OMG - what a find! Check out this parking spot, view and direct beach access.

However, on closer inspection, we found signs that indicated there were only 4 parking spaces designated as free camping - and those spaces were already full. :-( Melinda and I were willing to risk it, but Jim said no - we need to be good and follow the rules. He was right, so we moved on to a pay-for campground in town. It was more like a trailer park, no view, tight spaces. But, it had beach access and the beach was less than 2 blocks away. 
Jim and I actually woke up before sunrise and walked to the beach for some sunrise photos. It was beautiful - especially because there were big rocks out in the ocean to frame the sun.

What we didn't bargain for was the surfers! The big swells that closed the beach at Cathedral Cove meant Surf's UP! Here's video of a surfer who caught a great wave.

Then we continued walking around the corner to the marina. Just beautiful. 

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