Cruising the Coromandel


It was time for our next adventure!  We wanted to beach hop around the Coromandel for a few days and so we set off in the campervan, heading east away from Auckland.

First stop Waihi.  We set up shop in a freedom camping spot overlooking the beach.  Popular with kiwis, this place was beautiful, a huge stretch of beach with big waves crashing in.

Fin was in his element as we bagged a spot right by the adventure playground, which kept him busy for hours!

Waking up the next morning, we cooked our breakfast on the free public bbq overlooking the beach.  Next on our to-do list for the day, was to take Fin out surfing.  He had received a new surfboard from Santa for Christmas and he was excited to try it out.

Looking every inch the surfer dude, Fin strode out onto the sand with his surfboard tucked under his arm!  He wasn’t immediately confident in the waves as they were pretty big, and of course his hand was held at all times, but he had an absolute blast trying to get his balance on the board and feeling the waves underneath him.

We had made good friends during our last trip (back in 2009) as we travelled around Thailand.  And these days we knew they lived in NZ.  They had mentioned they would be in Waihi for NYE, so we were keen to meet up after all these years – this time with kids in tow!  It was lovely to see them and introduce them to our littles as they played together on the beach.

Fin enjoyed the beach fun with the kids and we spent the afternoon chatting away and reminiscing about our travels together.

As we were drawing closer to NYE, we started to think ahead to where we wanted to be, so that same afternoon, we hit the road again to secure our spot in our next planned destination – Tairua.

After some research, Tairua appeared to be the best spot along this coastline for a fireworks display as midnight struck, bringing in the New Year.

We had a freedom camping spot in mind, but we would have to be pretty jammy to get it, as there were only 3 available.

It was as if it was meant to be.  We arrived into Tairua and we grabbed our spot.  It was better than we even imagined, it was right by the water and overlooking the harbour and estuary, with a volcano backdrop in the distance.

We then discovered that this was one of the most prime spots in the area for the fireworks the next day… perfect!

We grabbed our little disposable BBQ and cooked up some mini burgers al fresco.  Fin was able to run around on the grass and was counting all the boats bobbing in the water.

Waking up the next day, we took the short ferry ride over to Pauanui, and had a good walk around exploring.  It was heaving to be honest so we took the coastal walk back, away from the crowds to grab our return ferry back to our little spot.

Early evening we decided to go for a family meal to the Fishing Club, right next door to our campervan and enjoyed a little treat as a family.  Then we made a deal with Fin, that if he went to sleep, we would wake him up to see the fireworks at midnight.

He was overjoyed, as just as the sun was setting; fireworks started popping off, all around the coastline dotting the harbour.  He was jumping for joy, and was excited that he had seen some fireworks even before bedtime.

The sunset was extra special that night, it was really beautiful… the very last sunset of 2018, a year filled with adventures!

Once Fin was fast asleep, we drank little cans of bourbon and coke, watching all the fireworks leading up to midnight.  This drink was a blast from the past to when we rang in 2010, up in Paihia. We swigged Woodstock bourbon and cokes. So that was our tipple of choice for this Kiwi NYE celebration.  

It was ten to midnight, so we went to wake Fin up.  But he was in such a deep sleep; this wasn’t going according to plan.  He whispered that he wanted to stay sleepy, so with that we let him rest.  Then the display started.  And it was LOUD!

Fin of course awoke, and wasn’t happy that he had missed the main display.  So we sat wrapped in blankets together after all the crowds had gone home, and spotted some of the smaller fireworks that were still shooting into the sky.  He was so happy as he thought these fireworks were especially for him!  What a treat to be 3 years old and awake way past midnight to watch the firework show.


Jen Skehan