More like Hah-yay. This was the first official stop on my New Zealand adventure. A small village located in the Coromandel Peninsula (northern are of the North Island). The guide said that many New Zealanders holiday here in the summer spots and that this wasn’t a typical tourist stop.
The bus left Auckland before 8am. I grabbed Dunkin’ and hauled my luggage down to the bus stop. There were about 30 or so other travelers. Most of us are seeing for the first time, but a few are traveling in pairs/significant others.
Once in Hahei there is an optional kayaking trip that afternoon. I opt out and go for a walk/mini hike instead. From Hahei Beach to Cathedral Cove is just under 4km. Cathedral Cove is a beautiful beach/marine reserve hidden in the cliff side of the bay. This location was featured in Narnia as well as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Can’t Hold Us music video. I stay on the beach for a little bit enjoying the sun before heading back.
That evening we has the option of joining in for a group dinner. It was the perfect opportunity to get to know each other over a super tasty meal. A group of us stayed up late playing Cards Against Humanity (Australia version and yes it is different from the U.S. version).
The next day was very easy going and at 1pm we made our way to Hot Water Beach. There’s a section of the beach where an underground hot water river flows and tow hours on either side of low tide you can dig your own hot pool. It’s like a man-made, natural hot tub. For dinner we had food truck style burgers from Serial Griller. These are dubbed as one of the best burgers in New Zealand if not “the best.” That night a smaller group of us decorated the bus for Christmas and absolutely made a mess with glitter.
A couple of us wanted to watch the sunrise and planned on waking up at 5am so it was a chill night. At 8am we were leaving Hahei and heading off to the next destination.
Hahei Holiday Resort Review
We arrived at the Hahei Holiday Resort and had our own section of the property sectioned of for Stray travelers. It included private bathrooms, cabins, a kitchen, dining area, and outdoor terrace with BBQ. At the peak the property can hold 1,500 people in a range of cabins to campgrounds. We had cabins with bunk beds and single beds (I scored a single bed – woo!).
The property is right off the beach and a 2 minute, easy walk. It’s also a 5 minute walk into town. There is another hostel in town, but the town is very small so you are limited on accommodation options.
Serial Griller is located on the property and there is also a breakfast pop up. The small coffee shop has coffee and gives you a .50 cent discount if you bring your own cup.
Everything about Hahei was a positive experience. It was the perfect first stop during my NZ trip. In general I wish I could spend more time on the Coromandel Peninsula. This would be high on my list of spots to come back to.