20 February 2017

To Tutukaka, Whitianga and Hahei

Location: Hahei, New Zealand

' Triangulating With Friends ... Across Continents & Over Oceans '

We left Paihai, drove southerly then east a short distance to Tutukaka. 
It's on the east coast near the northern end of the North Island.
Here's a couple of maps ... if you need to orient

An overview shows the north easterly coastline of the North Island and a zoom of the central east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. This post features a boat trip, hiking and kayaking, all along georgeous coastlines. Red lines are our driving route, the blue lines are water routes, green lines are hiking routes.

Pron. [Too-too-kah-kah]
(Stock Photo)

' Washed by warm currents swept south from the Coral Sea, the Poor Knights Islands are an international icon. Jacques Cousteau rated this as one of the Top Ten diving destinations in The World. '


 BUT, it just keeps raining!

We booked a day trip with Dive Tutukaka; I get a 2-tank dive and Helen gets to snorkel. The dive site is around 23 kilometres off New Zealand’s Tutukaka Coast and it's about a 1 hour boat trip. We depart 8:30 am and they tell us we'll be back on the mainland by 4:00 pm ... or thereabouts and did I mention it's POURING.

Other than the rain, most of that never happened!
Diving Skills

Knowing When To Abort A Dive  

' I really beat myself up! ... mainly because Jacques rated this the 7th out of 10 top dive sites in the world and I only got to visit and snorkel a bit ... SIGH! ' I've done 85 dives so far. Many  divers abort a dive at some point and I guess dives 86 & 87 were those dives for me. The day was also disappointing for Helen; the heavy rains ruined her snorkelling plans and she was concerned about me.

My PADI Log Book Entry 
I can't log this as a dive but I'll learn from it and enter it as a teachable moment.

The Dive
I entered the water and soon after beginning my descent, felt uncomfortable. My rental dive gear fit well and functioned properly but my right ear just would not clear. The bottom was only at 20 - 22 metres. I alternated between descending/ascending and attempted to clear my ear several times, without success. I eventually aborted the dive and left the water. This was a buddy-group dive and had I delayed my decision much longer I would have affected the dive times of all the other divers. I removed my gear, relaxed a bit, did some snorkelling and attempted the second dive later ... unfortunately, I still had the same problem.

My Analysis 
I have had problems depressurizing my ears in the past. For several years now, I have been in the habit of using a decongestant to clear my sinuses (not all divers do) prior to any diving sessions and I neglected to do that this time. I believe this, in addition to the extended flying times I've recently experienced (jet lag) and the flu like symptoms that have been plaguing me since Dubai, have all conspired against me ... Sigh Again!

What Could Have Happened 
Had I pushed past the pain, I may have caused temorary or permanent damage to an ear drum. I have been on dives where a diver has surfaced with blood coming from the ear canal. But just as important, I could have ruined my 'buddy's' dive because he would have been required to surface prematurely with me. 

Know When To Abort A Dive

The Good News! ... is we got to see the Tallest Sea Arch in the Southern Hemisphere and the Worlds' Largest Sea Cave - named Rikoriko. It rained too heavily to take many photos today; these two are stock. There was a sailboat camped in the cave when we passed.

Pron. [Fit-eee-anga]


On our way to Whitianga

We drove the Tapu - Coroglen Road, passed 2 cars going the other way. The most fun I've had driving on this trip, since leaving Canada. It's about 22 kms of 90% single lane (barely), twisty - turny, gravel & mud roadway up and over the mountains in the Coromandel Forest that reconnects with Highway 25 just inland of the Coromandel Peninsula's eastern coastline. Would be a great rally road ...

Pron. [Hay-he]


The hike starts down near the beach at the Hahei town site and continues in an easterly direction towards the Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) Marine Reserve. There are many moderate grade changes along the way. The first third of the trail is multi surface until a viewpoint platform and from there is mostly paved until a steep staircase drops back down to another beach. The route is partly through coastline forest with many sections that break out into open areas offering good views of the bays and coves. We hiked on a Sunday and the trail was quite busy. High points of this trail are the frequent wide open coastal views and the interesting rock formations at the hike's terminus.

... a new T-shirt, ornamental grasses, a lily and some other flower, a very tame bug eating bird, headlands, driftwood, flowerpot and arched rock formations


We just happened to drive by this local vineyard after our hike. 

They were open, so we stopped in. Tasted a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Syrah. Enjoyed them all and purchased a bottle of each. Click Mercury Bay Estates

Reconnecting With GERMAN Friends

An innocent Happy Birthday Facebook wish to our German friend Felix resulted in an unexpected get-together! Amazingly, we discovered that Felix and his parents, Cornelia and Dieter would only be about 75 kms away from where we are staying on the North Island ... ' What Are The Chances, Isn't Life Fascinating! '

We met them on a canoe trip on the Yukon's Wind River in 2009

We met as paddlers ... so decided it would be more than appropriate, to book a group kayak tour out of Hahei. The very next morning, a noreaster moved into the area and the outfitter cancelled all trips for the day ... Crap! Plan B ... a get-together in Tairua; a nice lunch social featuring the fish of the day and Thai curry with prawns entrees accompanied by a pleasant Kina Cliffs Vineyard chardonnay from the Nelson Wine Region

A very special ending to our stay in this area!

Whakahari     Prost     Cheers

Follow us by opening TRAVEL MAP 2016/2017 on the right sidebar ([view larger], zoom +/-, pan around).
Click on any photo (some stock) in this post to launch a slideshow gallery of all the photos.
Wikipedia provides some content. 

Crusty ... rain, rain and noreasters ... puleeeze go away!


  1. 2nd time as I forgot to publish the last comment. What a great report again!We certainly remember the Tapu Coroglen road as a nice challenge. The day of that drive we also did the hot water beach. The Pacific Ocean that day was 27 and the hot springs in the sand a low tide was considerably more hot. Your photos make us long for NZ again.
    Enjoy the warmth, very cold here today.

    Nancy & Rick

    1. HI Nancy & Rick - thanks for taking the time to comment. I bet the photos brought back some memories for you guys. We are presently in Abel Tasman - did a day hike & a day kayak trip. Hope to post later today. Heading south on the south island tomorrow - working our way towards Fiordland National Park. Hot & sunny here - cheers - Helen & Dann


Your comments, suggestions, observations and even opinions are welcome ... please leave some!
TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty