Set off at quite a respectable hour – for us – to hitch to the other side of the Coromandel to a place called Hot water beach, where it is supposed to be possible to dig one’s own hot tub in the sand, with hot water bubbling up into it from a spring. Walked first to the dairy to provision ourselves, then started hitching. It proved pretty hard going for a while, but eventually got a ride in the back of a pick up, to the turn-off for the road across the peninsula… and then they told us we were going the wrong way, taking the least popular route! In for a penny anyway, + in fact the very next car that came by stopped for us. 2 youngish, richish Aussies, gong just a few miles along the road to visit some water gardens. When we got there, Val + I thought we might as well go in too, seeing as we were there, even though it set us back $1.50 apiece. We quickly discovered we’d been done – the gardens were pretty enough, but what natural beauty there was was utterly destroyed by the cute animals (shells stuck on logs etc.) + vomit-producing neo-philosophy, painted on signs + nailed to the trees. Nothing more profound than Be kind to our furry friends. Fortunately, included in the entrance fee was a short walk to a quite pleasant waterfall. That was nice, tho’ not $3 nice.
However, on our way out of the place, we thrust out our thumbs at an exiting car + it stopped. Surprising that. Quite a nice lady with her sister-in-law + daughter… plus us two, all in a low-slung motor on a gravel road – we managed to scrape her silencer a few times. We stopped off at the Square Kauri, an old, large + impressive tree set on a hill just above the road, + were dropped off at Coro..?, a virtually non-existent town, whose dairy was shut. However, we sat + ate our bread + cheese + hard-boiled eggs on the side of the road, before returning to hitching. Not too long a wait, + a ride along the road leading to the beaches – only 9 kms to go now.
Another ride for 6 of those, but we had to walk the rest. It was about 3 o’clock now, + had taken us over 4 hours to get there, so we couldn’t afford to spend much time there before heading back. However, hot water we had come to find, so we plodded to the directed spot – there were quite a lot of other people there, all digging furiously, so it wasn’t hard to find. We joined the merry throng, + set to like a couple of demented spaniels, soon carving out a decent-sized pool – the only trouble was, no hot water, no matter how much we dug. About the only consolation was that very few other people seemed to have any success either. And after about an hour + a quick dip in the sea, we thought we’d better hit the road once again, in case it took us another 4 hours to get home. As it happened, we’d barely started walking when a car with 2 young guys stopped, + they were able to take us all the way to Thames, arriving there in about an hour. Another ride, + we were back in the campsite at a very respectable hour. We cooked up a hot + spicy curry for our tea, then sat reading.
And at long last, a relevant photo! Apart from that, a pretty ordinary day of sight-seeing while hitching, not an easy prospect, even in hitching-friendly New Zealand. But in the end, a reasonable haul – visiting some gardens, making it to the beach, and back again, even if none of those activities was exactly wonderful.