Thanks to the help of Destination Coromandel, we set out to explore the most well-known areas of the Coromandel Peninsula: Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Before doing so, however, we took the advice of a friend and detoured a bit farther north first. This was how the day ensued:
We began the day at Shakespeare’s Cove. This cove is located just north of Cooks Beach. Once passed Cooks Beach, you will see a sign directing you to make a right turn. When following the gravel drive uphill, you will come to a fork in the road. Turn left and park in the cul-de-sac. Walk about a minute into the bush, and you will find yourself at a beautiful lookout point over Cooks Beach and Lonely Bay. What a view!
When driving downhill from the lookout point, turn right at the fork rather than continuing toward the exit. You will come to a dead end and see signs pointing toward the democracy steps to Lonely Bay. Follow those steps to find yourself on a secluded, pristine, and utterly untouched beach. A true gem in the Coromandel Peninsula of which few tourists know.
My friend Nick, who joined me on my road trip through South Africa, told me that I must head to Purangi Winery while I was in the Coromandel. Luckily, it was easy to spot, and perfectly situated between Lonely Bay and Cathedral Cove (our next destination) – perfect for a lunch stop! We were greeted by owner Danny, who suggested I ordered a mussel pizza. Sounded good to me. David, on the other hand, was trickier and asked if he could have pizza without cheese. Danny was so accommodating in asking if David was vegan and went on to suggest numerous vegetable toppings he could put on his specialized pizza. When the individual-sized brick oven pizzas arrived, they looked perfect. The mussel pizza was incredibly delicious, and the vegan pizza looked scrumptious. Most definitely the best vegan pizza David will ever have.
Having devoured our pizzas, we walked into Danny’s winery. He gave us free tastings of numerous liqueurs that were truly flavorful – my favorite was, naturally, the passionfruit.
When approaching Cathedral Cove, you will see a parking lot on your right advertising free parking and (paid) shuttle. We pulled in, parked, and inquired as how to best access Cathedral Cove; we were told it was an hour away on foot at a decent pace. Since David and I weren’t too thrilled with that idea, we decided to take a chance and see if the upper parking lot that was supposedly full happened to have anyone leaving. Lucky for us, someone was pulling out right as we were about to leave and succumb to the walk! 5FT Tip: It’s important to note that it’s a 45 minute walk each way to Cathedral Cove from the upper parking lot, no matter the lower lot! Do factor in this time when planning. The path is well marked and there are plenty of beautiful lookout points. You can detour off the path to Gemstone Bay or Stingray Bay, but as we were crunched on time we continued onwards to Cathedral Cove. We made up time by walking quickly and managed the walk in about 30 minutes. Arriving there, you can instantly see the Cove, a film location for Narnia. Unfortunately, there were too many people around for a clear shot, but Cathedral Cove is obviously a popular swimming beach and a great place to spend a few hours – just be sure to bring plenty of food and drink!
Hot Water Beach.
Toward the end of our day, and off the property of our final destination, we reached Hot Water Beach. This beach got its name due to the thermal springs beneath the sand. Upon arriving, we realized that most people on the beach had a shovel in hand and were trying to dig holes deep enough to reach the thermal springs! It was quite amusing, and many seemed to have success!
We ended our day by checking into Hot Water Beach Top 10 Holiday Park, courtesy of Destination Coromandel. This campground must not be missed when visiting the Coromandel Peninsula.
**Special thanks to Destination Coromandel for sponsoring our journey. As always, all opinions are my own. Photographs taken by David M Gallo Photography.