Beyond Kuaotunu – Exploring the Coromandel

Kuaotunu tree

After the exertions of biking to Cooks Beach, we passed a fairly cold day doing not much back at Simpsons Beach. It was the start of July, and there wasn’t much sun to be seen. We were struggling to make much power, despite having 515 watts of solar panels. I kept blaming winter although I was starting to suspect our batteries. The next day we decided to head off in the car with our picnic basket, north to Kuaotunu and then east on Black Jacks Road, to explore a corner we’d never visited.

The weather was OK for a start, but the forecast for the day wasn’t great. But the forecast for the next day was even worse so we wanted to make the most of it. From Sinpsons Beach the road is inland, over a saddle in nice forest, and down to the settlement of Kuaotunu back on the coast. This is on the main highway (SH25) towards Coromandel town.

Simpsons Beach, Coromandel
Morning at Simpsons Beach
Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel
Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel

From Kuaotunu an unsealed road leaves the highway and heads east, and so did we. The road climbs around a hill and drops down to the sweep of white sand called Otama Beach.  This is a relatively unspoilt beach with only the far end developed.

Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel
Looking back to Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel from Black Jacks Road
Otama Beach, Coromandel
Otama Beach, Coromandel, Mercury Islands in the distance
Otama Beach, Coromandel
Otama Beach, Coromandel

From there we followed the road inland to emerge back on the coastline at Opito Bay which is more developed. Finally from there we headed inland and south over another saddle to drop down to Matapaua Bay. This is definitely the end of the road. It is a wild little beach with only a few baches/cribs and relatively undeveloped. There is an interesting little walk from the far end of the beach up steps and over to a very small rocky beach facing out south across Mercury Bay towards Cathedral Cove.

Opito Bay, Coromandel
Opito Bay, Coromandel – Mercury Islands in the distance
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel
Matapaua Bay, Coromandel

The weather was getting more marginal as we headed back to Opito Bay for late lunch; back to Kuaotunu for another brief stop; and finally back to Simpsons Beach before the rain finally set in.

Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel
Kuaotunu Beach, Coromandel

Gallery of photos – Whitianga – Coromandel June – July 2012

Click on thumbnails to see full size. (And then you can click through them)

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