New Chums Beach
Going on a recommendation from Josh – one cool kiwi, we set out for New Chum’s beach. Hailed as the North Island’s prettiest and most secluded beach, it lies north of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula. Many short hitches later we finally reach Whangapoua beach, where you hike the 30 minutes at low tide to get to New Chums. Exhausted from walking a ways with our packs and navigating the jagged shore, we reach New Chums, sharing the sand with just a handful of people. Sadly, the waves were too rough for swimming, but we finally got in that sandy R&R as the sun moved low into the sky.
The next day we curved around to the west coast of Coromandel to make our way back south. Stopping for lunch in Coromandel town, we took a local’s advice and ate at Umu’s, where we first experienced and fell in love with the gigantic green lipped New Zealand mussels. Heaven!
Winding through the forests of Coromandel we reach the Karangahake Gorge, a scenic tramp along the river through old gold mining territory. The surroundings are lush green, and the air is misty on the verge of rain. 2 hours in, we reach a beautiful swimming hole ringed with waterfalls. Just beyond would be our campground for the night, Dickie’s Flat. Believing we had reached a quiet and free hike-in only campsite, we were surprised to find the campground teeming with families and their monolithic tent structures. Apparently there’s a carpark right there. So much for the “hard to obtain” site. The next day rained lightly on and off, but the scenery was too compelling for us to care. The only downside were the number of sandfly bites we got around our ankles – the itching on a whole other level than mosquito bites. Deet quickly became our best friend.