Special Publications : Peninsula Playground 2012
18 Peninsula Playground Peninsula Playground 5037159A A The weather was appalling but the news is that this year’s summer break should be the total opposite (if we trust the weathermen) – a real scorcher. So here’s a few of the Coromandel’s best beaches for those visiting for the first time. ONEMANA BEACH Six kilometres north of Whangamata and a right turn off the main highway leads you to the hidden gem of Onemana. As you enter you’re greeted with an expansive view of the blue sea and a glimpse of off shore islands. Once you reach the foreshore the bay is revealed - lovely golden sands and a curving crescent shaped beach. Fringed at the south end by an impressive sweep of pohutukawa trees curving down from the clifftop to randomly strewn rocks, Onemana is beautiful. At the other end of the crescent more pohutukawas and a large rocky area provide the perfect spot for snorkeling. The scene is complete with a small waterfall tumbling from the cliffs towards the northern end of the beach and a fresh water stream piped through from the hills, which flows, into the sea. CATHEDRAL COVE Accessible only on foot, boat or kayak, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on the Coromandel Peninsula. Cathedral Cove Marine Reserve, Te Whanganui- A -Hei, covers 9 square kilometres and is New Zealand’s sixth marine reserve. It is administered by the Department of Conservation. This site was chosen for a marine reserve because of the rich and varied habitats associated with the coastline and outlying islands. Reefs of hard rock, soft sediments, intricate caves and underwater arches provide homes for complex communities of plants, crustaceans, molluscs and fish. Sheltered from the worst of the southerly winds Te Whanganui-A -Hei gives visitors an opportunity to learn from and enjoy an unspoilt marine environment. The two- hour return walk to Cathedral Cove from Hahei gives access to Gemstone Bay and Mares Leg and it is well worth it to spend the day at the beach at Cathedral Cove. HOT WATER BEACH A truly unique Kiwi experience that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. An underground river of hot water flows from the interior of the earth to surface in the Pacific Ocean at Hot Water Beach – a long beautiful white beach located between Tairua and Whitianga. The stunning beach overlooks the Pacific Ocean and offshore Castle Rock, with Pohutukawa lined cliffs at either end of the beach. Two hours either side of low tide visitors flock to the usually deserted Hot Water Beach to find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can been seen digging their own spa pool in the sand to lie back in and relax while the steam from their hot pool envelops them. COOKS BEACH This long sandy beach which caught Captain Cook's eye in 1769 is an ideal place to unwind and explore beautiful Mercury Bay. Cooks Beach is flanked by Shakespeare Cliff to the west and sheltered and picturesque Purangi Estuary to the east. Nearby, Ferry Landing is the oldest stone wharf in Australasia, built in 1837. Ferry passengers can cross the harbour to the attractive township of Whitianga from this historic site. Located between Cooks Beach and Ferry Landing are the sheltered and white, sandy beaches of Front Beach & Flaxmill Bay providing a captivating walk along the water's edge to Shakespeare Reserve. A highlight of the walk is the walk down to beautiful Lonely Bay - an artist's dream - with its white sand of crushed shells and enormous limestone boulders. NEW CHUMS BEACH Hidden away from the masses and rarely explored by Kiwis is this spectacular beach, which is considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world. Wading through the estuary at the northern end of Whangapoua Beach (north of Whitianga) and follow the shoreline you’ll find a track that crosses the low point in the headland saddle over to the scenic beach. The walk is approx 30 minutes one way. This stunning stretch of golden sand is fringed by Pohutukawa and native forest and is deserted for most of the year. For more information go to thecoromandel.com. UP IN THE AIR: An aerial view of Cathedral Cove shows the spectacular nature of the coastline. Photo: thecoromandel.com Bliss on the beach For those who were in the Coromandel last summer holidays, the words, “let’s go to the beach”, were not heard a lot.
Home and Living 2012