|Mercury Bay Hahei|
We left Auckland at 9.45 am and made our way to Hahei on the famous Coromandel Coast. We reached our destination at 1215 h – a drive of 175 Km. The drive is extremely captivating taking us through endless mountains and valleys. The surroundings keep you enthralled throughout. Most of the time is spent in photography and viewing. As one rounds ‘Firth of Thames’ the vegetation becomes even more dense and interesting. The drive is extremely lonely with very few cars on road ,no signs of any habitation outside of cities and villages, no human beings to be seen anywhere and definitely no animals.
The driver should be very alert at all times. To break monotony it’s good to pull over and take a photo break – it helps.
We checked into "Hahei Holiday Resort". It is a very well appointed resort - extremely clean and comfortable. The facilities include a barbecue pit, free laundry, fully equipped kitchenette and a small restaurant. The cottage we stayed in was extremely well equipped – down to a can opener and corkscrew! It had wooden floors and a verandah to die for! The place is huge and accommodates camper vans and tents. One can walk across to Hahei beach behind the resort.
Hahei is derived from the Māori name for Mercury Bay, Te-Whanganui-A-Hei, or "The Great Bay of Hei". Its resident population is around 300 and it is home to the world famous ‘Cathedral Cove’ and a hot water beach. The village itself is very small with one all purpose store, a single petrol bunk, a few restaurants and resorts for tourists. Two of us wanted to stay a little longer in Hahei than planned while the other two wanted to come back and settle down for good. That was the impact of this cute little village.
The store keeper was very helpful and went out of her way to book us for a speed boat ride to visit the coves.
The Coxswain and the guide told us that Captain Cook landed on the beach that now takes his name in November 1769, to watch Mercury (hence the Bay’s name) cross the sun. After some astronomical calculations Cook worked out the latitude and longitude, putting New Zealand on a map.
|A distant island|
|Fascinating Rock Formations|
|From inside the cove a novel experience|
|All dressed up|
|A very unique cove|
|At the bottom of the cove|
|Entrance to deep cove|
|Imposing volcanic rocks as the lava flowed|
|Yet another deep and narrow cove|
|Mares Leg Cove,|
|Sea,Sky,Rock and Trees - simply fascinating|
|Finally the Cathedral Cove|
No wonder people from all over the world come to Hahei to unwind and enjoy – it offers unlimited outdoor activities such as kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, trekking and living in the wild. We ended the day with a glass of chilled beer and a delectable lunch.
Hahei resort observes ‘Quiet Time’ between 10.30 PM to 7.30 AM during which time there should be no noise and no music.
The next morning was spent lazing around the ’Hot Water Beach’. Some volcanoes develop huge underground reservoirs of super heated water. Over time, this water escapes to the surface — cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF) at a rate as high as 15 liters/minute. This water contains large amounts of salt, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. The hot spring starts one hour before the low tide and lasts one hour after the change. We reached the beach at 1000 h sharp as the low tide for the day was at 1100h.
|A tiny bubble of hot water escaping from the sand|
|Jai with a shovel all set|
Naveen refused to leave the pool and continued to remain in the spa for two hours.
|The Hot Water Beach scene|
|Jai, kats and Naveen enjoying the spa|
|Naveen refusing to get up|
|One last attempt|
|Totally pleased !!!!|
It was indeed a novel experience.
Very reluctantly we departed from Hahei next morning, carrying with us loads of wonderful memories of this charming little seaside village.