Throughout the entire drive along the Coromandel Peninsula I felt torn. I didn’t know if I should be looking straight ahead out the windshield, to the side through my passenger side window, or if I should actually be hanging out the window and looking back at where we had just come. 360 degrees of absolute, stunning scenery.
It was this indecisiveness about where to look that probably contributed to that woozy feeling I battled as well.
You may have been one of the few who has seen my four page trip itinerary. Well, today’s trip was supposed to take the morning and the afternoon, but really, probably 4 – 5 hours. An hour and a half to Thames, another 160 km drive around the coast and low and behold, we’re rolling into our hotel in late afternoon for check in.
Well, as all of you who have been to New Zealand know, the drives are beautiful and they are so windy, that everything takes longer.
Plus, I did not account for a 5 minute conversation with Phil (from The Langham Hotel Auckland). And when he heard that we were heading to the Coromandel Peninsula, he said, ‘You have to go to New Chums Beach. It is paradise. It is like treasure island. But you’ve got to work for it – to the end of the beach, over the rocks, through the trail – and then you will be rewarded with paradise’.
I mean, who can pass up an endorsement like that??!!
And so, we left Auckland around 10AM, cruised through Thames, marveled at the coastal water views directly on our left and wondered what type of fish everyone was catching out on the rocks.
Phil pretty much said, ‘don’t even think about stopping at a beach on the West side – a waste of time’. Hard not to stop for sights like these….
We were tempted by the 25 green lipped mussel limit posted on the beach, and figured that would have stopped my dad right there – he would be out there on the beach trying to figure out who he needed to recruit to increase his shell fish limit.
And after a quick lunch with NZ specialties L & P and ‘chocolate fish’ at Coromandel Town…
We found ourselves walking past a beautiful white sand beach to find an even more beautiful white sand beach. Maybe Phil was right…
We walked towards the end of Whangapoua Beach, to scale over rocks, to use rope handrails to climb up tree root-studded embankments and descend down into paradise.
I have to say it….New Chums Beach may have wrecked me for all other beaches.
Sparkling, smooth white sand (with no rocky bits or drying seaweed). Clear blue and turquoise water. Cliffs filled with greenery surrounding a protected bay. Pointed, greenery covered islands in the distance. And enough empty beach that it felt like you had it almost all to yourself.
And so, with the help of Phil, breathtaking NZ scenery, a need to stop and take photos, and twisting roads, we rolled up to our hotel just after 7PM. 9 Hours Later.