November 18, 2011
The cold November rains have come and my mind drifts off to warmer places on the planet. While we are slamming into winter here in the U.S., New Zealand is sliding into summer.
If you have the pleasure of taking a bike trip in New Zealand, don't miss the cathedral. While I know there are beautiful churches in Christchurch and Auckland, I'm referring to one made by Mother Nature.
Cathedral Cove is on the Coromandel Peninsula, east of Auckland. As I recall, you'll have to park your bike and hike out to this cove with its grand arch. It is a protected marine reserve popular with divers and snorkelers.
After a visit, you can get on your bike and pedal out to Hot Water Beach, where thermal activity under the sand provides a great opportunity to dig your own hot tub. Borrow a shovel (unless you are already carrying one on your bike. Really? You are?) and dig a hole in the sand when the tide is low. The water will be too hot to sit in, so you'll mix it with seawater.
The trick is you'll have to also build your own little sand wall to keep too much of the cold ocean water from spilling into your hot sand hot tub. It's hard work. But you won't mind because you'll remember that back at home it's snowing or raining or clear and thirty below.
I was there nineteen years ago. Normally I wouldn't lend out specific travel advice that is nearly two decades old. But unlike restaurants or lodging options, which can drastically change from year to year, Mother Nature is pretty consistently awesome!
Photos by Willie Weir
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at http://yellowtentadventures.com.