I think we can all agree that finding a beautiful place in the land of the long white cloud isn’t too hard of a task. The challenge arises when one aims to find a beautiful place no one knows about. A challenge I didn’t want to leave undefeated as I was approaching the last few days of 23. Despite the bleakest of forecasts consisting of rain and a healthy side of thunderstorms*, even my unusually strong optimism couldn’t prepare me for what was to come. Out of the many, many places I have travelled to and stayed at in Aotearoa, my birthday weekend in the Coromandel introduced me to two of my now favourite destinations. I’m talking about the kind of ‘favourite’ that you tell all your friends about. Including the lovely checkout lady who just wanted to know how your day was. Yes, the two spots were that good. I couldn’t help myself but share them with you in this special birthday post.
*we saw about 4 hours of sunshine, remember to not ever entirely trust NZ weather forecasts – the country’s many microclimates do what they want…
If you’d like to see my overall guide to The Coromandel, go this way.
A short boat ride from Tairua transports you to the kind of paradise you don’t expect when you first get to New Zealand. There’s no epic mountains or grand caves leading to hidden beaches. It is, simply put, serene. Uncomplicated accommodation, golden sands, a working farm and all of that without the crowds. You can camp, glamp or stay in the lodge. Sunrise is best at the lighthouse just over the hill and, for sunset, I recommend a one minute walk down to the beach with a glass of wine in one hand and a camera in the other.
On the way from Tairua to Tuatewa, we saw a break in the clouds and opted for a quick detour to one of the world’s top beaches, New Chum Beach. Put aside 30 minutes or so to follow the Mangakahia Dr track to either the beach itself or the lookout above and remember keep an eye out for dolphins.
This grown up version of a tree house is the sweet spot between respect for the environment and ultimate cosiness. Top Hut feels like a better version of home away from home. It came as little surprise then that owner Kit and her family once called this tree top gem home themselves. Her caring reflects in every corner of the hut, from home-made treats on the kitchen bench to a labyrinth of fairy lights all across the house and deck to a well-stocked bookshelf and even a couple of hot water bottles near the bed, just in case. Come and stay for a while.
Which place would you rather stay at? Just in case you need some more convincing, I also made a photo diary from my weekend trip to the Coromandel. Happy travels!