This morning we board for our boattransfer (approx. 80 min.), on our scheduled excursion to New Zealand's only active marine vulcano - "White Island", 49 k's off the coast of Whakatane. We are in the safe hands of Pee Jay Charters - White Island Tours, who will guide us on a 2 hour walk on and around the vulcano and sulpher mines (hard hats and gas masks will be provided). After our close encounter with the awesome powers of mother nature, we drive towards the Coromandel Peninsula. We'll probably not have enough time to visit "Hot water beach" and Cathedral Cove en route ... In the Coromandel we'll be staying at the boutique Silencio Lodge, just south of Whitianga. Nestled in a secluded valley amongst native New Zealand bush and hosted by Martin and Jane (and Max the Lab).
Tough luck again, our half day White Island tour had been cancelled due to bad weather. We strolled around town a bit more, got ourselves some music for the trip, and some supplies, and then headed for the Coromandel peninsula.
Had a quick stop at the famous "hot water beach", but it was very crowded. Next we did the "Cathedral cove" walk. As we drove up on the parking space, we met on older couple we had dinner with in Kaikoura ñ NZ is small. The walk down to Cathedral cove is certainly a must-do, but very tiring (steep up and down, and back again!).
Had an exiting drive towards the Silencio Lodge, as the name says, in the middle of nowhere (last bit narrow and winding dirt road, then through the river bed - great! ;-) Fantastic people, fantastic place, new proprietors Jane and "Marc" and their daughter had just moved in and were loving their new found "isolation". They had only visited themselves the year before, and as the property went on the market, they took the chance. Hope it works out for them. The bush-bath is a very special feature of the property, you can take a soak in a hot spa bath, with an open view towards the native bush (lucky there are no malignant creepy crawlies in NZ) - decided to head into town with the other couple that was staying there. An older German couple, had a nice dinner together in a great place ..., with outside fire place! (Whitiange seems to be a very nice place to live)
Jean-Jacques Halans ©2003