After three years I decided to brave the windy roads back to Whitianga. This time we stayed on the Cooks Bay side – a five minute ferry ride from downtown Whitianga. This is closer to other tourist attractions including Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Other than the ferry and some hikes that will get your heart-rate up, there is not much within walking distance of our accommodation. However, hop in the car and you can be at Coromandel Brewing Company or Hot Water Brewing Company within 20 minutes. We selected the closer of the two and dined at The Pour House, home of Coromandel Brewing Co. Unfortunately it was too windy to enjoy their vast outside seating area and fire pit.

Saturday was the main event that brought us to town. The queue to get into the Whitianga Scallop Festival was massive, but moved quickly. Once inside we enjoyed a full day of eating, drinking, music, and playing musical tents every hour when the skies opened up. The venue was a muddy mess by the end of the day and I envied those who had the forethought to wear gumboots.

Cathedral Cove

On Sunday we got an early start so we could get to church in Tairua at 10:30am. On the way we stopped by Te Whanganui-A-Hei (Cathedral Cove) for the 90-minute return trek. Even at that early hour there were plenty of people exploring the tunnel. Because it was low tide we were able to walk through it. We must return another day to swim or kayak through.

Alas, we did not make it to Hot Water Beach on this trip, but it will be on the list next time.

Dates: 15-17 September 2017
Travel with: Allen
Weather: 60s, mix of sun and sprinkles
Accommodation: cabin at Flaxmill Bay

  • Back Bay to Maramatatotara Bay trek via Whitianga Rock; 2.5km, 40 minutes
  • Cathedral Cove
  • Whitianga Scallop Festival
  • Mass at St Mary’s Catholic Church in Tairua

Food & Drink:

scallop wonton
  • The Pour House, home of Coromandel Brewing Company. Their pale ale gets a thumbs up.
  • Whitianga Scallop Festival: bacon scallop kebab, scallop mornay, tempora scallops, scallop wonton (!!)
  • Subway
  • The Espy Cafe
  • Feast Nz, Tairua

Transportation: self-drive; Whitianga ferry