Friday: Hot Water Beach
To give some context to how busy the kiwi experience is right now… I’m on the second bus (of two), and I’m one of 90 heading south of Auckland today. This is one of the or busiest summers ever I’m told.
Auckland is the most populated city, and the North Island is the same size as England but is far less populated (comparatively). The South Island has 1.2 million people and is the size and England and Wales but is again, way less populated!
Auckland translated to Maori means ‘attractive to many lovers’ because lots of people wanted to move there. Maori is used as an umbrella term, but in actuality, each tribe was very different which is why they were a waring people. They liked to live on hills, so they could build fortified villages. They lived on volcanoes (there are 43 in Auckland so most hills you see are volcanoes) so they could see everything.
The capital was moved from Russell in the Bay of Islands, to Auckland because so many people moved here. But then it changed to Wellington because they needed it to be a place between the two islands as there were concerns that the South Island would break off and become its own country because getting all the way Auckland back in the day was very hard.
Lots of mud flats around Auckland, and lots of waterways – hence the nickname ‘the city of sails’.
New Zealand is the largest island in the South Pacific, many people from the smaller islands have made their way over here, giving Auckland one of the highest Polynesian populations.
A popular destination for Aucklanders and kiwi’s during the summer. We’re passing by two small towns, we’re told the typical population is 500 people in each town, but during the holidays they’re between 15-20,000 people here!
It was named by the early Maori settlers that came here, and is known as ‘two tides’ because the tide can come in several times a day. Mount Paku was abandoned by Maori settlers because too much blood was shed was there – they tend not to return to a place if too much blood has been shed there.
We walked to cathedral cove which took between 30-45 minutes. It was really great! On the way back we spotted this little guy! I think he’s a California quail, and he was with a buddy too – I’m guessing his partner. They weren’t as timid as I’d expected, almost seeming curious about what we were doing and who we were.
In the evening we headed out to the aptly named: Hot Water Beach! Named so because there are streams of hot water trickling through the beach, which can be dug up and used to create mini hot pools. They get pretty hot – like burning hot, so the trick is to find a stream, dig a big whole and wait for the low tide to fill the pool with cold water to get a good mix!
It was a great experience!
Definitely take a head torch if you do it, you have to take a short woodland trail to get there. The advantage to not using a torch (or simply turning it off) is that you can see glow worms in the woods!