Its raining tonight in Auckland. Which reminds me of another rainy day in which I haven’t written about yet. About a month ago I met some other couchsurfers who had a random week day off as well, and we decided to make the most of it and rent a car to explore the coromandel peninsula. There were five of us; Annika from Germany, Andy from the UK, Bryan and Kristy from the USA, and myself from Canada.
We rented the car and left Auckland super bright and early in the morning. We had to leave super early, because our main point of interest was hot water beach. And it was imperative that we get there at low tide.
Hot Water Beach is famous as it is a one of a kind place where you can dig a hole in the sand and instantly create your own hot spa pool due to the hot water that seeps from the ground as a result of geothermal activity in the region. However, what no one told us is that you can’t just dig a hole anywhere on the beach, you need to first hunt out a good spot.
In the end, the five of us taking shifts using our hands and the one small shovel we rented dug and fortified the most impressive hole on the beach. But alas, no matter how deep we dug, there didn’t seem to be any hot water. In fact we only had cold water from the sea and cold water from the sky. Did I mention it was raining the whole day? But we persevered and kept digging and digging and digging. In our defence, we were slightly misled by a women who said we were in a good spot and to just dig deeper. Eventually we gave up, but at least our cold water pool was the most impressive hole on the beach.
In the end, we did find a hot spot on the beach, but by this time the tide was too high to dig a hole. Instead we would just wiggle our toes an inch into the sand until the water became too hot that we had to jump away.
After being thoroughly rained on, we drove up to the start of the hike to Cathedral Cove. You have to hike about 30 minutes to get to the cathedral cove beach, but one you do you are rewarded with the most tranquil and peaceful spot you can imagine. You may remember me speaking of cathedral cove before, because it is where we went back to camp during Christmas.
After enjoying the scenery and getting even more soaked from the rain we had to hurry back in order to return the car in time. On the way back to Auckland though we had to stop to have our pictures taken with the giant L&P bottle (a soft drink famous in New Zealand). Everyone was very sleepy at this time and the rain was relentless, and those two factors probably combined to explain what happened next. I was dozing in the passenger seat to wake up to Annika breaking hard. In what seemed to be slow motion we suddenly crashed into the car in front of us, completely totalling the rental car.
After much discussion and waiting, a police car finally showed up and pushed us to the side of the motorway. Since it would be a while before the tow truck showed up, the police officer drove us back into town in the back of this car. Random fact about New Zealand: not only do the police not carry fire arms, but there is also no barrier separating the back from the front in police cars.