Pitstop #1 – Cathedral Cove
A huge sea cavern through a headland linking two white-sand bays is the main attraction at the end of this popular 45 minute walk. Most parts of the track are well-formed and would weather, even rainy conditions. However, wearing anything other than flip-flops is advisable, as I ended up walking barefoot in the rain on the return journey back.
There are 3 short diversions available en route to Cathedral Cove. Puriri Grove Track is the first detour, a 10-minute walk through ancient puriri trees. The second is the steep track down to Gemstone Bay, a small, rocky cove. Sorry to disappoint but, there are no semi-precious stones lying on the beach waiting to be collected, despite the rather misleading name. But, there lies a very good snorkel trail here. The third is Stingray Bay. This small, enclosed sandy bay boasts clear water and interesting patterns on cliff caused by weathering. Stringrays could be spotted in the clear water hence the name.
At the end of the track lies Cathedral Cove – a perfect swimming/picnic spot!
Pitstop #2 – Waihi Beach
A little bit about Waihi before I go on. The main town in the area started life as a gold town and still remains pretty much a gold town today. It used to be one of the richest gold mines in the world. It’s interesting to note Waihi has managed to somehow retain its colonial character till today. Waihi Gold Mining Museum and Art Gallery and Martha mine (huge opencast gold mine) are easily the must see local attractions in Waihi.
Waihi Beach, a very popular holiday resort area, is about 12km from the town. It is popular with surfers and fishers.
Pitstop #3 – Karangahake Gorge
Karangahake Gorge, 7km from Paeroa town, features a historic railway remaining in a stunning natural gorge setting. The walkway follows the railway line through the gorge and then opens alongside the Ohinemuri River. There are a couple of walks ranging from 45 minutes to about 4 hours that you can attempt. The Windows Walk is the most popular trail sadly it was closed when I visited for some maintenance works. Hope you have better luck! There are three large gold-processing batteries built in the area: Crown Hill, Talisman and Woodstock.
All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.