What we did: We landed in Auckland, got our Ezi car rental, stayed the night in Drury, then headed to the Coromandel Peninsula and listened to the Breeze the whole way. If you’re into 70s, 80s, and 90s easy listening – that is your station. It was pretty perfect for our meandering, let’s get lost car ride. First stop was the Rapaura Watergardens, a private garden with some great views for the price.
Walking slowly on an easy hike, worked up our appetite and we ended up stopping at the Coromanel Mussel Kitchen. This was my favorite restaurant in New Zealand. It’s a cute little stop off the side of the highway. They offer blankets if it’s chilly outside and their green lipped mussels are amazing. I only started eating seafood in the last few years and I have dreams about these mussels. They are what I compare all other seafood to.
After we ate, we got foogled, fooled by Google. Google Maps suggested we take The 309 Road. The 309 has a lot of great views on the way and some scary hairpin turns around hills with only one lane. Locals take the turns fast so I just prayed no one was on the other side. It was a harrowing drive and probably the only time Terry and I were at each other’s throats. Well just mainly me at his throat because my heart was in my throat. Stop along the way and see the waterfall and the pigs!
That drive meant I earned some relaxation and we headed for a soak at The Lost Spring in Whitianga. A 2 hour soak later and another car ride to Tairua and we were finally at our Airbnb. This place was a dream with a deck and views for days.
We pulled into town just in time to get groceries for the evening and get inside for the storm. Blankets, wrap around windows, space heaters and wine were the perfect night. The next morning, we headed out to Cathedral Cove. The drizzle kept crowds away but we still had a hard time parking since the shuttles weren’t running. I recommend just pulling your car to the side and waiting for a spot to open up. The hike took about 2 hours and had more stairs and inclines than expected. Don’t forget your water and a snack.
Since I complained very little on our hike, Terry rewarded me with wine at Mercury Bay Estate. They had a taco truck and live music. It was my vineyard warmup for Waiheke. On the drive back to Tairua, we got to see a little bit of a rainbow.