A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6 : (7th Feb)

How to get a beach all to yourself..........

sunny 26 °C

AM: I'm sat writing this passage on a rock in Cathedral Cove, all on my own after the most beautiful sunrise. It's everything I imagined here and more, I just hope I've done it justice in my photos.


Funny thing now is, I'm stuck!! Since my arrival the tide has risen between the cave and Cathedral Cove itself rendering me trapped and I was lucky to get through when I did. The best bit is all the bemused tourists now in the cave pointing at me relaxing here and wondering how the hell I managed to get through!!

It's warming up an awful lot already (8am) so I hope I can soon make the retreat back to the car (assuming a funny tourist hasn't nicked my shoes from the other bay!). At least I'm drying out nicely.....!

PM: Well I made it back! Not until 10 mind you, it seems the tide times I got before were wrong.....cursed time difference confusions! It's been another real scorcher of a day and even with our strongest sun cream we are struggling not to burn. We're not even sat on the beach and it's catching us out.

Went on a VERY small RIB this afternoon around the bay and nature reserve. Quite a fresh breeze meant we certainly had a lively ride holding onto the rope provided “for when we get air born”!! The guide, Shane, was a nice chap though and told us loads about the local area and wildlife. Of particular note the Pohutakawa trees have massive tap roots that burrow through the cliffs down to fresh water level, an impressive feet considering the cliffs are some 250-300 feet high in places.


We've decided that the Pinnacles hut walk isn't going to happen. The heat is just too great and considering we have to carry all our own water it would be foolish in this weather. I'm a bit gutted but don't mind too much as I have some superb photos already, in fact it's been better than I could imagine. I could live here and become a pro landscape photographer no problem!

Hopefully an early start tomorrow for me to my famous “Coromandel Tree” lookout that I've seen photographed by Dave Notton. I have seen my own ideas though so hopefully I can do something different to his work. Oh and hopefully a horse ride too! Assuming we can get hold of the ranch........

Posted by danedmunds 13:12 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 5 : (6th Feb)

Heading East

sunny 26 °C

An early start this morning got me the shot I was looking for of the city so good start there!


The drive to Coromandel, well what can I say? If it's meant to better scenery in the South Island then my word is it going to be incredible as this drive was stunning. The high passes and deep valleys of thick forest and sheer cliff faces is stunning especially on such a beautiful day like today.

We stopped off at the DOC centre for the Pinnacles hut but with no-one around (a public holiday) we headed back down the dirt track and onward to Hahei (pronounced “ha-hay”). I must admit I am beginning to have concerns about the Pinnacles walk purely due to the heat. At 16:30 (about the time we will do the climb) it's hotter than at any other point in the day and 27 °C is no typical English summer heat. Coupled with us carrying water, sleeping stuff, food and camera gear it's crying out to think carefully about it!


The hostel is beautiful, wooden log huts and set in a quiet valley (apart from the ever present Cicada's!!) close to Cathedral Cove. We took an evening wander down to the cove and I had no idea it was in such a sheer location. Just goes to show Google Earth can certainly fool you; gone are the the rolling hills I expected. Instead sheer Pumiss cliffs shrouded in thick forest.


It's high tide in the morning so I made a dashed attempt at getting through the Cathedral cave separating the two coves. I made it just, to Sarah's amusement!! A little wet me felt confident I can get through there tomorrow, lets hope for some good light!!


We cooked some yummy steak and chips tonight along with a bottle of really nice (and dirt cheap!) bubbly. Seems that sparkling wine is much cheaper than normal wine...........oh well!!!

Posted by danedmunds 12:11 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Day 4 : (5th Feb)

City of Sails II

sunny 25 °C

Woke up feeling really good this morning so went off to sort out some breakfast and headed off into Auckland.

Wandered around the shops (I know first day and we're shopping, but I'll let it go!) and headed down to the waterfront. We randomly decided to go on a harbour cruise and we certainly got a good one. FREE beer and cookies, possibly the most awesome sweetener for a tourist trip ever?!

(Click on any of the piccies for a larger version)


The trip was lovely (though there is a weird thing where school kids play music from their mobile phones out loud over here and a few of them were quite annoying!). The harbour and estuary are huge and the views of the city are so much nicer from the water. I had the idea of a dawn photo of the city and the views I could see only compounded that thought! Poor Sar, she's going to be bored stiff of me running off at silly hours after 4 weeks worth!

This afternoon we went West to Muriwai Beach, a Gannet colony I had seen in a book and it was well worth the short trip. The birds were everywhere, gliding at head height around the point, looking so majestic considering their huge size. Needless to say I managed a few good shots of some in flight (Sar plumped for the static birds on the rocks(!) but still got some lovely intimate shots).


The beach at Muriwai is a big surf venue and I have never seen such huge, clean breaks. I can only imagine what it's like in a storm. A load of guys fishing around the rock outcrops below the birds really did look like they had a death wish in those waves, especially considering all the warning signs everywhere.


An early night for us as we leave for the Coromandel Peninsula tomorrow and I'm off down to the marinas for some early shots of Auckland.

Posted by danedmunds 10:10 Archived in New Zealand Tagged boating Comments (0)

Day 3 : (4th Feb)

City of Sails I

sunny 25 °C

The first thing that hit me about NZ as we got off the plane was the heat! A cheery (worryingly!) customs officer assured us it was one of their record summers so I'd best get used to this and fast! Sarah seems fine about it of course!

We picked up the car without a hitch (the woman who I honestly thought was a small man was an amusing distraction though!) and almost immediately dubbed him “Matt” for reasons I will allow a select few to understand!! Sorry everyone else! Auckland itself is like no other city we have driven in, so little traffic you'd be excused for thinking you weren't in a city at all save for the skyscrapers on the horizon.

The hostel seems nice, a quiet street and everyone seems friendly. We are so tired that sadly we succumbed to our first fast food meal but we'll sort out proper food shopping and stuff tomorrow.

Right now though we are both dead in the water so a well earned sleep is in order.


Posted by danedmunds 08:27 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Day 2 : (3rd Feb)

10,672 Miles and Counting

rain 16 °C

I say day 2, but really it's day 3 as I write this, however the last leg wash such a killer I had no energy (or desire) to write anything.

So how was my first big flight? Mixed bag of emotions really. Terrifying when the bloody thing bounces around in turbulence, awe-inspiring at just how far we have travelled in such a relatively short space of time, exhausting which is odd considering I have been sat on my butt for 20 hours!! Finally, boring! After so long I was crying to get out of the confined space, there are only so many times that checking your height (well not my height, of course!), speed and outside temperature can remain an interest! At least now I have a lot more confidence in the big planes and the landings are actually so smooth........so far!

The highlight so far has had to be when we flew over Afghanistan. Totally clear skies revealed endless snow covered mountains, glaciers and passes with the only sign of life being derelict dwellings dotted around at an infrequent rate. If only this place wasn't so messed up it would be high on my must see list! I only wish I had the camera with me as it really was stunning.

At the moment we're sat in Sydney airport (misty and raining) having done Singapore (little to comment on!) and survived the thunder storms over Java (not fun being awoken by a sudden turbulent drop).

It's strictly the third day (4th Feb) actually due to the time zone change but I'm not counting that until we touch down in Auckland. Timing is a bit messed up for us and we don't know whether to feel jet lagged or not and we have a strange “sea legs” feeling from being on the plane so long. At least this last leg is only 3 hours.......so as before in London, all we have to do is stay awake!

Next stop New Zealand!!

Posted by danedmunds 04:00 Archived in Australia Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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