There was a ton of traffic all the way up to Auckland. We figured that this was all the Labour Day traffic coming home after the long weekend. Apparently something like 30% of the New Zealand population lives in Auckland. Once we’d gotten through Auckland, the traffic was awful coming the other direction, but much better for us.
I fell asleep while Hayden was driving, and I was slowly awoken by the feeling of the car going through the winding roads towards Coromandel. There were no guard rails on the shoulder. The shoulder was a cliff. And then there was the ocean. It was terrifyingly beautiful. Hayden was in awe.
Hayden immediately adored the town of Coromandel. It was a small, quaint town with lots of little shops. Sadly, most of the little shops were closed early for Labour Day. The front desk of our hotel, the Coromandel Apartments and Motel, was completely closed and empty. There were instructions for self check-in on the front door and we had an easy time getting into our apartment. I thought the place looked very similar to Sea Spray Suites, but Hayden insisted that this new place was way better.
The supermarket was open until 7, at least, so we had a cheery 4 minute walk to get supplies for dinner. All the food in Coromandel was really expensive. We decided to make a pesto pasta salad and buy a pizza at one of the few open restaurants. Hayden loved the meal and was in a cheery mood all evening. Over dinner, we finally finished Spider-Man.
Hayden Makes Breakfast
Hayden woke up early and made breakfast.
It had been many days since I had just done nothing. Hayden is not normally good at doing nothing, but I quite enjoy a good day of sitting on the couch. Today, we had a day mostly off.
At noon, we finally left the apartment and drove north to Colville. The drive was really scenic and the weather had finally cleared up. We saw a garbage truck driving on the winding roads and Hayden took a picture of it, staring in awe and musing to himself that “of all the garbage trucks in the world, this one gets to drive a route that is very beautiful.”
There was part of the road that had just fallen off the cliff.
We saw moo moos that just casually lived on the beach. Did they know that they had a premiere beach front residence? Did they know anything at all?
Our destination was the Hereford ‘n’ a Pickle Farm Shop, which sold mostly meats and jams. We got chorizo for our risotto dish, thin-cut steak for our meal that evening, and two unique flavors of jam.
On the way out of Colville, we impulsively stopped at Colville Farm because I saw a sign that said they sell honey. Another sign at Colville Farm said that they did horse treks there. We inquired about the horse treks and bought some honey.
Back in Coromandel, we cooked steak, potatoes, and cauliflower. I had the brilliant idea to marinate the steak in the abundant supply of soy sauce we had, along with a few other common ingredients. The meat and the marinade were excellent. Hayden raved on and on about the steak. I shrugged. It was good meat, but it wasn’t pasta. Rabs love carbs.
The Channing Tatum
After dinner, we were craving dessert and went out in search of somewhere, anywhere open after 9. There was a nearby convenience store selling small microwavable cakes. Since we didn’t have an oven, they were good enough.
We watched White House Down over dessert. It was AMAZING. It had the Channing Tatum, an Obama-like president, and a character who you think is Bernie Sanders for a hot second until it turns out he’s not and that he’s EVIL. Definitely was the kind of stupid movie Melanie and I would watch, all the while going “BANG BANG, POW POW” and other noises vaguely reminiscent of machine guns.
Hayden Makes Breakfast
Surprise! Hayden made breakfast and we tried our new jam.
Hayden: The “quince” jam, it tasted very mild and bland. Is that what you remember? It was kind of like, eh. I thought it’d be exotic, and it was kind of boring.
The 309 Road
Today we were going to ~The Lost Spring~ to get a massage and hang out in some geothermal hot pools. The route there took us on the 309 Road, which sounds like an alternative rock band name, but is actually a scenic road in the Coromandel area. Most of the road was not paved, and it was very curvy. Some parts were quite narrow. I was starting to get tired of these endlessly winding roads.
The highlight of the 309 Road was the wild pigs that this one farmer keeps around. They were pretty cute. I made Hayden stop the car to take pictures of them. The baby pigs looked at me. They were unafraid though, because pigs are smart.
Finding the Lost Spring
At the Lost Spring, we got the Signature Combo Package, which included a 30 minute massage, a 90 minute pass into the hot pools, a cocktail, a snack platter, and fuzzy robes to put over our bathing suits. The massage was first and, though we hadn’t requested it, we somehow ended up in a couple’s massage room. It was the most beautiful massage room ever. Hayden really liked his massage, and mine was okay. The whole experience was really relaxing.
The environment that the Lost Spring had created felt like you were in another world. It truly was a luxurious getaway. The rocks themselves were human-made, but the water was brought from the underground. There were a few different pools, and Hayden and I tried them all. We got our cocktails and snack platters and ate by the hot pool. It was nice.
RAB Wants a Nap
After the hot pools, I was pretty much about to fall asleep. Hayden seemed to be much more awake so he did the driving. We stopped at Kuaotunu beach on our way to Otama Beach. I went on a swing.
Otama Beach was very beautiful, but it was a very windy day and we didn’t stay too long.
Next on our sightseeing list was New Chums Beach, however Rab was very sleepy and it turned out New Chums was only accessible by a bush walk from Whangapoua beach. We hung out at Whangapoua Beach instead and walked around in the water.
Couch is Good
On the way home, we stopped at the market to get more food for dinner. I was very happy to be finally reunited with the couch and the fuzzy blanket back at the apartment. We made red wine risotto with chorizo again for dinner, but Hayden wasn’t loving it as much as he did the first time.
We’d be checking out the next day, and would have quite a bit of extra time, so we called and booked a 2 hour horse trek with Colville Farm for the next morning.
Hayden Sleeps In
Hayden did not make breakfast, in the interest of sleeping in.
Compared to Dart Stables, White Star Horse Treks was extremely informal. It was pretty much a create-your-own horse trek at extremely low prices. We’d read on their flyer that you could ride on the beach, and we wanted to ride on the beach, so we would be riding on the beach. It was that simple.
It was just me, Hayden, the head horse lady, and her horse lady friend. I was riding Ambrose and Hayden rode Chance. Dart’s horses had been extremely well trained to take noobs on the trails they rode on, but these horses were rebellious and wanted to be in charge. They would occasionally decide it was time to trot or canter, which was a little frightening as a rider.
The scenery was really nice even though it was overcast and threatening to rain. The beach was really neat. We rode the horses into the water and went splash splash. Once the horses realized it was time to go home, they started trotting and cantering uncontrollably down the beach. It was fun to an extent, but also worrisome that it seemed like no one had any say over what the horses were doing.
We had a short break at the beach and then made our way back. Once we were near the horses’ home territory, they took off cantering towards their horse friends at home. Hayden seemed happy enough doing that, but I was worried. After a stop to open the gate to the horses’ home, my horse was on better behavior and only trotted when I asked for it. Hayden’s horse ran away cantering.
Overall, it was a very fun trek for the money, though I wouldn’t say I’d do it again.
Next, we’d be making a stop at Hobbiton, the movie set, with our final destination being Rotorua.
Hotel Reviews with RAB
Coromandel Apartments and Motel
It was my favorite place we stayed.
— the Hall Report
The Full Hall Report: The kitchen was so nice, like the stove was a real gas stove. It just looked brand new and high quality and it cooked dinner so good. The bathroom was the nicest bathroom that we’ve had so far, like tile showers. We [our apartment] had our own driveway to the main street. The whole place was very well-lit, both with natural light and artificial light. WiFi was good and unlimited. [The place] was walking distance to convenience stores and markets. It felt like a home. I could have stayed there for a week or more.
The Big Comfy Couch: This is the only input that I’m going to have, since the Hall Report pretty much covers it. The couch was a leather-type couch, which makes it a little less cozy because it gets all cold when it touches your skin. The Sea Spray Suites definitely had the better couch. However, Coromandel had a huge fuzzy blanket that I enjoyed cuddling in whenever it got cold. The blanket was big enough that I could wrap up my whole body and protect myself from the cold leather.
Final Rating: Fabulous