Much as I admire people who can relax over a long weekend at home, I prefer to get out of town – away from those never ending odd jobs. So over Labour weekend a friend and I headed to Whiritoa Beach on the East coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Tucked in between the surfing beaches of Waihi and Whangamata, Whiritoa is a smaller, sleepier place with lots of baches and few permanent residents. New Zealand is blessed with an abundance of beautiful beaches and baches (holiday homes), so finding one to rent at short notice in Spring is rarely an issue. Although the cost of renting a bach over the Christmas season can be terrifying, off-peak there are some great deals — especially if you share the cost with friends.
We drove out of Auckland expecting the usual heavy traffic as people exited the city. But the roads were quiet, as no doubt people stayed in Auckland to soak up the party atmosphere around the Rugby World Cup final.
The weather was perfect, sunny but not too hot. As the kids were visiting relatives the weekend was a kid free zone. Sleep ins may be a thing of the past due to too many years getting up to little people. But, lounging around reading undisturbed by pleas for entertainment is a truly relaxing experience and highly recommended whenever (if ever) you get the opportunity. Walks on the beach were mandatory while the market in Whangamata was a great place to see some of the local crafts and food. The only disturbing factor was realising just how much native bush has disappeared from that part of the Coromandel. I don’t recall so much plantation forest and stripped fields in my youth…or perhaps I just didn’t notice it.