What a beautiful place!!!
Although not far in miles, the roads to get her are hilly and wiggly (great for passengers who get car sick!). But it is worth it.
So we based ourselves in Whitianga for a few days, which is a great mix. It is big enough to have shops, cafes and restaurants, places to mend your car, and an excellent local butcher, whilst still having a beautiful unruined beach and a gorgeous beachside path, and of course a fantastic park!
If this was the only beach you saw you would still be happy as there is a lovely view as you swim around in the sea, the beach is golden and the waters clear and blue. Based here are banana boat rides and jet ski hire (not that we tried either).
For $7 return per adult you can take this two minute ferry drive across to another bay. However it is only a passenger ferry.
The upside is that it saves a lot of driving. The downside is you either need bikes or be prepared to use your feet on the other side. The upside to that is that there are some beaches within a few minutes walk (but we went to one slightly further away).
Keep an eye in the water – we spotted a massive stingray just as we got off the ferry.
We were time limited due to our car breaking down in the morning, and getting back for Granny’s birthday meal in the evening, so I thought the 33minute walk stayed on the board to Lonely Bay would be perfect.
However I made the wrong presumption. I presumed that it would mean by footpath, not by walking along the road. So we turned right out of the ferry landing and walked through the forest.
Although poorly signed, steep (especially when carrying a small Bean) and mildly tricky underfoot, it was a beautiful natural forest walk and gave you a real sense of what the forests are like in this area. The lookout point from the top of this path was a great place to look back and see Whitianga from above.
Walking along the road for a bit, past another beach we then followed the path sign for Lonely Bay (turns out not the quickest route again!!). Up and up and up, hard work in the blistering heat. And you find yourself at the lookout. Although not where we wanted to be, it was a superb view of the beach – a long way down!
So turning down the track we finally found Lonely Bay. More isolated than most meant less people than most. Was a gorgeous beach, with the top part made up of broken shells, which turns into golden sands…. and after all that walking, refreshing blue waters!
Downhill all the way back. Past the sweetest library I’ve ever seen.
At a fast past going the shortest route we managed to get back to the ferry in the specified 33 minutes!
A truly beautiful place but also very busy.
You cannot drive to this beach. Even if you get the park and ride bus it is still an unexpectedly long walk to get to the beach. Given the walk, it is surprisingly crowded there. It’s again quite a hilly walk and we would advise footwear better than flip flops!
If you want it quieter then I would also suggest v early in the morning, rather than the busy mid-afternoon that we managed.
This was recommended to us as a residents favourite beach, on a slightly different side on the peninsula. About 25 minutes from Whangarei, there is a steep road that is part gravel road to get there.
It was very beautiful, white sands and more beautiful blue water.
Just after we got out a fisherman came over and told us that while we were swimming a 3m Bronzewhaler shark had been circling. Googling this shark later we were glad to read that ‘ it doesn’t often attack humans’. We did then delight in watching it safely from the shore.
Hot Water Beach
This is an absolute must! And you need to go two hours either side of low tide.
Never have we been anywhere like it or experienced the madness you observe when you arrive on the beach.
Our accommodation had a spade to borrow, but otherwise you can hire them at the beach. And you need a spade to dig your hole!
So we searched as the hot water spots are bizarrely localised, but we did find one – and then we dug!
Then eventually it was time to enjoy our own personalised hot pool!
Note (with small children) – after a while the water does get seriously warm…
Everyone was enjoying their own tiny piece of the beach over this tiny portion of a big beach
Eventually after a swim to cool down we headed towards home, but not before dipping in an exceptionally warm river to clean the sand off.
It was Granny’s birthday whilst we were in the Coromandel Peninsula
We were blessed with such amazing weather that we BBQ-ed for breakfast!
Later in the day was cake time
And then we lit it again after dinner. Never have I seen birthday candles burn so low!
Evie’s first steps
What an amazing place for a very special moment – at 9 months and 6 days old, Evie took her first steps late as night and followed it with a massively excited slam and clapping (another brand new skill to go with the steps). I have never seen her so excited.
Sad to leave the coromandel, I could spend much longer here. But time to move on to another beautiful spot.