Did I mention the ‘WH’ is pronounced like ‘PH’. Makes for an embarrassing conversation every time I tell a kiwi where we’re going for the weekend because I can’t even pronounce it right. HA!
Whangamata is in the Coromandel Peninsula ( Top tourist spots in this area are ‘Hot Water Beach’ and ‘Cathedral Cove’) Which we went to about 6 months ago. So we decided to come back this way, to a less touristy destination. A nice and short 2.5 hour drive from Auckland (SO short compared to our 8 hour drives). It’s one of the top beach resorts in New Zealand because of the safe swimming and best surfing breaks.
Luckily we were both off for 3 days, so it wasn’t a VERY rushed trip, like usual.
We camped at the ‘Wentworth Campsite’. The grounds were once home to 300 gold miners and their families. We were the only people there, so it felt super eery. Patrick’s motto is “if no one is staying there, it’s not safe”. HA. But, we stayed.
After we set up camp, it was already 2 in the afternoon with only 2.5 hours of daylight left (I hate winter for that reason). We went for a 2.5 hour hike up to Wentworth Falls. The waterfall was beautiful! The water was crystal clear blue.. Ah, if we weren’t camping, I would have jumped into it!
That night, we cooked in the ‘camp kitchen hut’ on a flattop grill. (No fires allowed at the moment) We made steaks, potato hash, broccoli and mushrooms. Pretty killer! We stayed up late, drinking beer, talking, and staring up at the stars. Ah, living in the city makes you REALLY appreciate some good star gazing when you have the chance. We fell asleep in pure bliss. It was a VERY cold night, but our tent was luxuriously warm. Last time we went camping, it was so miserably cold inside the tent. I woke up a few hours later because Patrick was freaking out about a noise he heard outside. I was so annoyed, but I listened, and suddenly I was WIDE awake. There were footsteps.. and rummaging through beer bottles. We thought it was a person, but then it came up to the tent and started breathing heavily and sniffing (like a dog or a wild boar) so we KIND of felt better that it wasn’t human.. but still. There’s basically no wildlife in this country that can harm you (except for wild boar). We both had to pee so ridiculously bad, but neither of us wanted to get out of the tent. We didn’t sleep so well after all.
The next morning, our bag of garbage was torn apart. We went into town to get directions to another gold mining hike, and I asked the woman what wildlife was out here because of what happened. She said “Oh! It must have been a possum! They grunt and breathe really heavy!” HAHA slightly embarrassing, but relieving to know it was JUST that. It was a very cold and rainy day, but that never stops us from carrying on. We hiked 3 hours to ‘Wharekirauponga Waterfalls’. Hiked through some old gold mine tunnels, an old railroad track, and crossed an awesome bridge. We found this one tunnel that we weren’t supposed to go in, and it still had a railroad track in it. I was so fascinated by it. I wanted to explore it SO bad, but Patrick said it was a bad idea. Party pooper.
The rain continued… ALL night. I made us some AMAZING burgers for dinner. Apple, brie, and garlic aoli on ciabatta buns, with corn on the cob and potato hash. We sat in the rain and ate our dinner, and then headed for the tent. Camping sucks when it rains. It was only 7 p.m. when we went to bed. Talk about OLDIES.
The next morning, we broke down camp, I cooked some chorizo hash for breakfast, and we headed out. It was a bright sunny and beautiful day. The perfect beach day, but unfortunately we had to be back in Auckland before 4. So we went to the beach for about an hour and went for a nice chilly swim! So refreshing! Ah, getting out of the city is SO enjoyable, I didn’t want to go home!