The New Zealand weather gods gifted me with another beautiful day for my drive to Whitianga. As soon as I made it across the Coromandel Peninsula and hit the east coast, I encountered some amazing beaches. Since it’s winter, many of them were entirely deserted.
I decided to take a coffee break in the cute little seaside town of Kuaotunu. My favorite thing about this spot, besides the shirt I bought that reads “Make pizza, not war,” was the great swings. Nothing beats a good swing.
After enjoying some swing action, I continued on to Whitianga. I checked into my hostel, which was right across from the beach, and took the owner’s suggestion that I explore the nearby Shakespeare Cliff Scenic Reserve. I had to take the briefest ferry ride known to man (maybe one minute) to get to the start of my trek.
As soon as I hit Maramaratotara Bay, the views of the cliffs were wonderful.
I also got to use my new lens to get some bird shots. You’re welcome, Mom.
Even seagulls look cool in New Zealand.
I continued on along the beach to some nearby rock formations, carved by the tide.
A little sheltered rock ledge beckoned, and I had to utilize the self-timer.
I didn’t have too much time to linger, with the sun already starting to get low in the sky.
Ok, one more shot, because just look at this place!
I carried on towards the cliffs, hoping I’d have enough time to get to the top before having to turn back.
I found an impressive stick teepee on my way.
I made it to the top of the cliffs after a brief but steep climb and was greeted with spectacular views out over Mercury Bay.
This was the spot where Captain Cook observed the transit of Mercury across the sun in 1769. “Mercury Bay” is thankfully much easier to pronounce than the Maori name for this spot, Te-Whanganui-o-Hei.
If I’d had more daylight, I would’ve loved to venture down to Lonely Bay and this inviting beach.
I turned back so I could make it to my hostel before nightfall.
On my way, I encountered a lovely path through the hedge. Even though this copse of trees was fully surrounded by field, this little trail just begged to be taken.
The sun began to set as I descended back towards the beach.
What perfect timing.
I came across these great plants, which I just now found out are called red hot pokers or torch lilies.
Sunset over Maramaratotara Bay was indescribably beautiful.
The moon shone high over Shakespeare Cliff, and I had to just stand and look on in wonder, truly appreciating the beauty of unintentionally perfect timing.
The colors of the flaming sky were reflected brilliantly by the glistening sand and sea.
Another amazing end to another unforgettable day. Every time I wonder, can it get any better than this? In New Zealand, it always does.