When we arrived in New Zealand we didn't really have a detailed plan of what we're going to do and when. We had a few places marked on the map around north part of North Island and that was all. After the first day we realised that we actually have very little time for what we want to see and we need to organise our route or miss some things and waste time.
That's why we decided the second day to take it easy and only go to nearby Hahei Beach with the famous Cathedral Cove, stay there and plan the New Zealand journey properly.
Hahei Beach was only half an hour away and we decided to find a cafe and regroup. The weather was nice and sunny and within an hour we had a pretty much full route across both islands. We didn't have much time as it turned out - only 19 days for both islands. It was going to be busy.
But for now it was an acclimatisation day - we checked into a beautiful camping ground and parked 15 meters form the beach under a massive pine tree. The ocean turned out to be refreshingly chilly - no more Australian soup! We sat on the beach for a couple of hours and decided to go and see the Cathedral Cove - a nearby wonder of nature.
We used a water taxi to get there - 5 minute ride to avoid 2 hour walk up the hill. We were the only passengers on the little motorboat with tide coming in fast and waves getting higher. Five minutes later we reached a secluded little beach with a crowd of people waiting to be picked up to get back to town.
The Cathedral Cove is a limestone cave that links it with the Mare's Leg Cove. One can cross from one to the other under a majestic ceiling - which was used in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian as the entrance to the world of Narnia. It's beautiful and unfortunately very crowded. We stayed there for a short swim, a bathe in a small waterfall and then took a winding path along the cliffs back to town.
The picturesque walk took us alongside the Gemstone Bay and Stingray Bay all the way to Hahei Beach. We discovered a little rope swing on the beach and became little kids again.
Later we had a nice dinner in a local cafe and enjoyed an evening by the camper van. The tranquility of camping life, we could get used to that...