From Thames we drive up and over the mountains that run through the spine of the peninsular. Every corner is beautiful. Its a very strong and rugged countryside, with mountains dark and brooding, some just rocky, others tree covered and green.
On the east coast we cut into a town called Pauanui which has the feel of a well developed resort with clean cut grass and beautiful holiday homes. We reach the beach and walk round from the ferry side onto the open beach. We share it with no-one! Miles of beauty, fabulous sand, rolling surf and rows and rows of shells. Heavenly! No bubbling under the top ten for this one, straight in to top ten list!
We carry on our journey, driven by the need to be at hot water beach for low tide. We climb another peak and stop at the view point to breath in the stunning vista. Out to a clump of islands called the Aldermans and across the blue blue ocean. I feel a tear in my eye. It is the kind of view that feeds the soul. I am taken in my mind to a song we sang in church with the chorus:
stronger than the mountains
deeper than the oceans
reaches to me.
We drive on to our accomodation in Hahei beach, a lovely self catering chalet close to the beach. We lunch and dump our stuff and head off with spades and bucket to the Hot Water beach.
Seeing as to how this is winter and not a school holiday, the beach was already crowded with people digging. What a strange sensation to walk on sand that is hot and to see steam rising through the water inlets! We choose a hot spot and start to dig a pool. It doesnt take long to create a boiling hot pool,a with water so hot you cant stand in it. The volcanically heated stones, 2km below the surface heat up a water reserve which rises up to the surface. We create a cold water feed into the pool which enables us to sit down. Isn’t nature GREAT??!!