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Canyoning Blog – Best things to do in the coromandel! Part One

It seems like a lifetime ago now after a busy summer but a mere two and half months (now about 1 year!) ago my wife and I and our two little girls packed up the truck and heading off to the Coromandel for some time out before summer. Having traveled to various places around the Coromandel we didn't feel the need to go back to every place despite the likes of Hot water beach being pretty unique and a cool spot to see.

So first was to get out of the house which with one infant and one toddler can be pretty testing to newer parents like ourselves. We opted to head over in the afternoon and start off our time away with a treat staying at the Grafton cottage and Chalets, not suggesting it is luxury or expensive, more the fact as locals and not on the wealthy end of the spectrum any hotel style accommodation is luxury. My wife and I stayed here years ago for the first time on another get away pre kids and we loved it. Rachel and Alby the owners are two of the nicest most genuine people you'll meet.

www.graftoncottage.co.nz

The name Grafton "cottage" may be a little misleading in that the Chalets should feature first given there are a bunch of cool chalets perched on the hillside overlooking the firth of Thames, receiving spectacular sunsets. The name cottage for me brings up images of a place my grandparents would have lived in the UK or the place I was born on a farm with a cottage being a little house. The Grafton is not that! If you need more convincing then their modern and massive hot tub on the deck overlooking said view will be the icing on the cake!


After checking in we headed up into the Kauaeranga Valley (our second home but we're typically driving to the end to go canyoning and we don't often get to check out the smaller hikes.
http://www.doc.govt.nz/kauaeranga

Most outdoor enthusiasts are familiar with the Pinnacles which is an amazing spot and hike. The smaller walks do not get the attention they deserve such as the Wainora Hike – Up to the Cookson Kauri and then onto the Wainora itself for those that are keen to walk a bit further downhill or those continuing onto one of the many more back country tracks.


Day 2: We headed over to Whitianga, a relaxed little beach town, big enough to have shops for those that require it, even a Warehouse (a big one stop shop) and Placemakers (hardware store)for camping purchases or the likes on the fly. A nice beach great for little kids (supervised of course) with an estuary that's home to a number of moored boats with a little ferry buzzing across to the cooks beach side frequently.
As we'd been meaning to for some time we headed to hahei and caught up with the crew from Cathedral Cove Kayaks. I've hiked to Cathedral Cove many times, in sun and rain and I do think it is an awesome place and a nice little hike to boot. I would have thought I'd seen it all or at least all that I needed to see – I was wrong – from the water it is a whole different story – The array of rock types along the cliff faces jump out at you begging for admiration and the stories told by Ben our Guide let you imagine some of the scene when local iwi abided here solely before the early European came in thinking it was a pretty sweet spot!
In short, I have been on several sea kayaking tours around NZ and around the world, this was right up there and though there may be a little local pride I'd say it was the best I've done – with the range of scenery, the stop on the beach at the cove with just enough time to chill out and enjoy it, kayaking through a small cave to mention a few elements. Without trying to spoil the surprise there was an unexpected treat on the beach… contact Cathedral Cove Kayaks http://www.seakayaktours.co.nz/

So to summarise –

  • Beautiful Bushwalks up the Kauaeranga Valley, Thames
  • Hidden accommodation with a view and owners that care
  • Much more than you'd expect Kayak tours
  • And of course – Our own spectacular and oh so adventurous Sleeping God Canyon
In Part two we'll talk about the awesome trip out with Justin from Ocean Leopard tours (pictured above) which again, was full of unexpected bonuses which added to the trip even after hearing nothing but good feedback! http://www.oceanleopardtours.co.nz/

a highly recommended boat tour in Whitianga.