I know I said that I’d be spending Easter Weekend in Opunake with friends, but at the last minute my plans changed and I ended up heading to the Coromandel Peninsular for a weekend of fishing, diving, and generally enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
The Coromandel is located on the North-Eastern Coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and is home to some of the country’s best landscapes. Being only a couple of hours drive from Auckland, it’s a popular destination on public holidays and over the Christmas/New Year break.
We camped one night at Hahei Beach on the Eastern Coast which cost NZ$20 per person for a non-powered tent site (which included access to full camp facilities and free wifi). The rest of our time was spent at the very top of the peninsular, staying at the Department of Conservation camp ground in Fletcher Bay, which cost only NZ$10 per night, and provided stunning scenery. (Note, however, there was no electricity, flush toilets, or kitchen facilities).
On our final day we went diving in Mercury Bay, which was a mixed experience. The diving itself was good, but it was expensive for an underwhelming boat trip, no pre-dive briefing, and not particularly pleasant staff (including bitching about tourists when a foreign backpacker was on the boat and within earshot, urinating on the wall of the dive centre in view of customers, andremoving underwear in front of customers).
I was happy to pay for the dive itself, but I was annoyed that this particular dive centre was getting my money. If we didn’t have the urge to get out of there as quickly as possible, I would have asked for my money back.
Despite the dive centre-related issues, it was a good way to spend a long weekend in some amazingly beautiful country. If you come to New Zealand, add the Coromandel Peninsular to your list of places to see.