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Visiting Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula

Visiting Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula is the only place where I can ever feel truly relaxed. Not surprising considering how beautiful it is!

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Clark Island, Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Visiting Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula is the only place in the world where I can ever feel truly relaxed. A place I can rest my weary jandals and unwind after any stresses.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, Sunrise

Sunrise in Whangamata

Visiting Whangamata

For 25 years I have been heading to the family beach bach (Kiwi slang for holiday accommodation) in Whangamata for all sorts of water adventures. Snorkelling, surfing and relaxing on the empty beaches with a good book are how the days are best filled.

Even as the car cruises along the winding black sticky tarmac, melting under the hot sun, I begin to get a sense of relaxation. Knowing what is to come over the coming summer days.

Especially as we drover nearer and nearer it always became a competition between us boys to see who could spot the sparkling blue sea on the horizon first between the rolling farmland.

Whangamata Coromandel Peninsula New Zealand

Luckily for such a beautiful spot, development on the Coromandel Peninsula is slow and Whangamata hasn’t changed much in the 25 years that we have been visiting.

Sure the houses have got bigger and more expensive. But you don’t have to scratch very far below the surface to find the small town charm of New Zealand in Whangamata.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

Small town Whangamata seen from the Clark Island lookout

Locals still stop their cars on the main street to chat through their windows oblivious to the queue behind them. Not that anyone in the queue minds.

And if you pass someone on the beaches while walking the dog then a friendly greeting you will receive.

That is if you even see another person strolling along the empty white sandy beaches, which stretch from the Harbour entrance in the north, to the freshwater estuary mouth to the south.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

It doesn’t take long to fall back into the easy lifestyle of the locals either. And even though I am there to relax, I don’t sleep in.

I wouldn’t want to miss the spectacular sunrises that spread across the eastern skies. Bringing warm summer breezes and a blistering sun to make you run for some shade and an ice cream in the afternoon.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand, Sunrise

Whether it is with a freshly waxed surfboard tucked under the arm or the launching of the boat over the sand, we are up early to make the most of our days.

If we are out on the boat then lunch is packed away for later. Sheltered and secluded beaches along the rocky coastline or on one of the islands becomes our tablecloth. And the sun warms us up after spending too long chasing crayfish underwater.

Clark Island, Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

While it should surprise me, even after all this time on the road I still count myself lucky that I get to call New Zealand home. The only problem with visiting Whangamata and home, is that it makes it quite hard to say goodbye.

Whangamata Beach, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand

If you want to go Hiking in Whangamata check out our Wentworth Falls photos.

Thanks to Moss Burmester for some of the photos.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Jessica

    November 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    This place looks stunningly beautiful, yet tranquil. I can see why it would make a good haven of relaxation. I love the photo of Whangamata at sunrise – amazing!

  2. D.J. - The World of Deej

    November 26, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    Hard to find a more beautiful spot on the planet…

  3. Salika Jay

    November 27, 2012 at 5:59 AM

    Oh, the beach! Beach is one of the top things I enjoy on a vacation. Beautiful photos. Looks like a great place for some relaxation.

  4. Arti

    November 27, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Stunning captures!! NZ is so high on my bucket list! I will be travelling to Melbourne sometime next year, maybe I will try doing a bit of NZ then. Is it feasible?

  5. Callie

    November 27, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    Wow, what a gorgeous place to call home! Looks like such a relaxing place to come back to….

  6. Micki

    November 28, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    Lucky you! What a beautiful place to take your family vacations.

  7. Sam

    November 28, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Love this place too. Certainly going to do a road trip here this summer while I’m back in nz

  8. travelFREAK

    November 29, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    I spent over a year in NZ and I fell in love with the place. I’m in China now, and I think of New Zealand more than ever!

  9. Allan

    November 29, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Nice work Cole and Adela look forward to seeing more. Thanks for the tweet

  10. Jade - OurOyster.com

    December 2, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    Great photos and description! I spend Christmas 2010 at Cathedral Cove… it was amazing and so beautiful!

  11. Angela

    December 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Wow really looks like the best place to relax, great pictures.

  12. Natasha von Geldern

    December 3, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    It’s great to have that go to relaxing place – mine in New Zealand is Ohope Beach near Whakatane where I spent holidays growing up. The Corommandel is another favourite region 🙂

  13. jill

    December 4, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    Beautiful shots. It reminds me a bit of Hawaii between the beach scene and lush jungle.

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      Never had anyone compare it to Hawaii before but can definitely see the similarities! Not a bad place to grow up aye 😉

  14. Simon

    December 4, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    I can’t wait to be there and to see this beautiful place with my eyes. I want to have a long walk on that white beach, and listen to the waves and the breeze…

  15. Noah

    December 8, 2012 at 9:50 AM

    I visited Whangamata back in 2003. If I’m not mistaken, you pronounce it Fanga-ma-ta (or at least that is how my Kiwi friend pronounced it.) I kept saying, “We should go to Whangamata. I read that the surf is good.” He kept saying, “Sure, but first we’ll visit Fangamata.” We had some disagreements as to which one we should visit first.

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      Hahaha yup totally right there Noah. In Maori, “Wh” is pronounced like an “F”. Confusing when you have places called “Whakatane” 😉

  16. Ali

    December 9, 2012 at 10:33 AM

    That certainly does look like a gorgeous and relaxing place to spend some vacation time!

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      Not a bad place to grow up and have family holidays at each year aye 😉

  17. Izy Berry - The Wrong Way Home

    December 9, 2012 at 9:10 PM

    Very beautiful pictures! You’re doing a great job in promoting New Zealand 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      We should be keeping Whangamata secret though 😉 We do need to write more NZ posts, just haven’t been home in so long until now!

  18. nomadic translator

    December 10, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    I have heard about the Coromandel Peninsula before, but not this particular town. Definitely looks relaxing!

    – Maria Alexandra

    • Cole Burmester

      December 11, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      It is one of the first towns you get to. Prefer the small town charm of it compared to some of the other towns further north.

  19. Turtle

    December 26, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Don’t say goodbye! Stay there forever! Why do all these New Zealanders always want to see the world when they clearly have the best of it right at their jandal-covered feet?!

    • Cole Burmester

      January 16, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      All you Aussies just can’t seem to get out of Australia quick enough 😉 Must be something wrong with it!

  20. Pingback: Meet the Kiwi Bloggers: Four Jandals Adventure Travel Blog - Flashpacker Family - Family Travel Blog, Travel with Kids, Toddler Travel Tips

  21. David

    March 2, 2013 at 9:10 PM

    After reading this we spent a few days on the Coromandel and enjoyed a lovely coffee in Whangamata, thanks for sharing!

    • Cole Burmester

      March 3, 2013 at 9:31 AM

      The Coromandel Peninsula is definitely New Zealand’s worst kept secret! Just amazed, less people travel there than the rest of NZ when they visit 🙁

  22. Pingback: Travel Memories from Cole [Four Jandals]

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Oceania

Five Thrilling Theme Parks in Australia

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Thrill-seeking individuals, rejoice – as we have found five of the most amazing theme parks in Australia! There are actually A LOT of them, but we’ve decided to narrow it down to five to make it easier for you to choose.

 

Up for a blood-rushing and heart-stopping challenge? Try some of the most extreme rides that we are about to discuss below!

Dreamworld in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Buzzsaw, Mick Doohan’s Motocoaster, The Giant Drop, and Wipeout

 

With nine huge thrilling rides, eight family rides, eleven kids’ rides, and twelve Whitewater World rides, anything that you could possibly want in a theme park can be found here. It has been called as one of the world’s best theme parks by Adioso, as well as the number one Amusement & Water Park in the South Pacific by TripAdvisor.

Warner Bros Movie World in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: DC Rivals Hypercoaster, Arkham Asylum, Wild West Falls Adventure Ride, DC Doomsday Destroyer, and the DC Comics Super-Villains Unleashed

 

Make your own dreams come true by seeing your favourite DC Superhero and cartoon character in person! The Warner Bros Movie World is part theme park and part studio, so you can even take a side trip by visiting famous movie sets. Take the kids for a fun day out, as they have kids’ rides including the Justice League 3D Ride, Junior Driving School, Kids’ WB! Fun Zone, and Road Runner Rollercoaster.

Luna Park in Melbourne

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Great Scenic Railway, Twin Dragon, Spider, and Pharaoh’s Curse

 

Luna Park is one of the most visited theme parks in Australia, not just because of its rides, but also because of the view that it offers. There is no entrance fee too, so make the most out of your Australian by visiting one of the most well-loved theme parks in Oz! Before you buy your plane ticket though, make sure to book a car hire in Melbourne rather than taking a bus or hailing taxis, It will surely make your trip cheaper and more convenient!

WhiteWater World in Gold Coast

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: Super Tubes Hydro Coaster, Triple Vortex, The Wedgie, and The Bro

WhiteWater World is Dreamworld’s sister park, so you know that it’s as good, too. It might be too cold to go down a waterslide with winter in town, but during the summer time, this park is where it’s at. It houses eight thrill rides and over twenty other slides, so you will never run out of choices. Each and every slide has an amusing name, too, so make sure to include the name when you post those amazing pictures on Facebook and Instagram.

Jamberoo Action Park in Jamberoo

Ride/s You Shouldn’t Miss: The Perfect Storm, Funnel Web, Banjo’s Billabong, and The Taipan

 

It’s just about an hour ride south of Sydney, so it’s really easy to visit. It has over 10 watery worlds, as well as other rides to explore. Everyone, including kids, will have a blast here, as there is a pool for every age. Do not miss the Funnel Web, as it features the world’s largest spider sculpture – definitely not for the faint of heart!

 

Feeling pumped and excited for your visit in Australia? We hope you give our suggestions a try, have lots of fun!

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Oceania

Australia – The Ideal Backpackers Destination

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Backpacking all around Australia is a fantastic way to experience the sights of one of the world’s most exciting holiday destinations. For the traveller who loves nothing better than trekking around a beautiful country, Australia is the place to go since it’s the most popular country for backpacking worldwide.

One of the best things about backpacking around Australia is that you could spend an entire year exploring each region and still not see the attractions by spending as much time as you want in each area. You can plan your route ahead of time or be spontaneous and go where the spirit moves you.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

What Australia Has To Offer

Australia is a backpackers dream. The country is perfectly set up for anyone who wants to spend six months or even a year exploring. Hundreds of hostels for hikers and backpackers are throughout around the country; the accommodations are clean and comfortable, and it’s easy to arrange transportation from one location to the next.

Heading down under offers the opportunity to make friends from around the world who share your love for backpacking. Some suggestions to follow before you begin your Australian adventure can contribute to making the journey everything you expect.

Food and Drink

A lot of backpackers travelling around Australia take advantage of the abundance of Asian cuisine that’s available in the major cities and small towns. Asian food is inexpensive, filling, and tastes great. Cooking yourself is a good way to enjoy the food you like and save money since you aren’t dining out every night. Check out this article if you are looking to dine on a shoestring.

Australia also has one of the most vibrant coffee cultures.  Visitors from Europe are often surprised at the quality and variety of coffee blends in the Country, much of which is due to the influence of European immigrants who brought their coffee culture with them.

And if you are “outback” they even have a way of making real Italian Coffee in the bush with a portable coffee machine called the Handpresso; a lightweight coffee maker designed to take easy serve espresso pods, giving you real Italian Coffee on the road.

Backpacking Destinations and Itineraries

Outdoor Activities in Cairns - Diving

Outdoor Activities in Cairns – Diving

If your have between three and six weeks and want an unforgettable experience, the east coast of Australia offers the chance to see the sights of Cairns and Sydney, with Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road if you want to extend your trip. In Sydney, visit the harbour and take the coastal walk between Bondi and Coogee Beaches. Blue Mountains National Park is to the west of the city. Towns near Port Macquarie are ideal for bush walks with some of Australia’s best surfing on the coast.

Before you go to Cairns, pop over to Magnetic Island for some of the best walks on the east coast. The best way to observe koalas in their native habitat is on the Fort Walk. If skydiving is on the bucket list, head over to Mission Beach; the most inexpensive spot in the area to learn skydiving. When you get to Cairns, you’ve arrived at the Great Barrier Reef.

The Gold Coast of Queensland is a beautiful, laid-back region. Explore the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforest, camp out or hike the trails. Surfer’s Paradise Beach is known by surfers worldwide. Make new friends at the cafes of Burleigh Heads.

Fraser Island is a must-see destination. The World Heritage site is the largest sand island in the world. Meet Australia’s wildlife or explore the cliffs, the rainforest or go on a whale watch tour. You may even spot one of Australia’s endangered dingos. The island offers accommodations for all budgets.

Backpackers can stay in group accommodations and enjoy the restaurants, bars, or cafes. Agnes Water, on the main coastal road in Queensland, is another famous surfing spot and is on the Great Barrier Reef’s southern tip. Accommodations include hostels with basic amenities to luxury apartments and retreats with WiFi, swimming pools, bars, and bike rentals.

The Whitsundays are an island chain off the coast of central Queensland. The landscape is stunning, the beaches are secluded, and the people are friendly. The islands are on the Great Barrier Reef, with accommodations that are eco-friendly. Airlie Beach is known for hostels for backpackers, with diving, snorkelling, swimming, islands to explore, and exciting nightlife.

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Oceania

Adventure Travel Guide to the Perfect Sydney Weekend – Without The Concrete Jungle!

Adventure Travel Guide to the Perfect Sydney Weekend – Without The Concrete Jungle!

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A typical weekend in Sydney offers so many exciting things to see and do – if you like closed rooms and skyscrapers that is!

If picturesque green rolling hills, fresh air, meeting new friends and having outdoor adventures is more your thing you certainly don’t have to strike Sydney off your list. Within just a couple of hours travel of the concrete jungle you can find culinary adventures and breath taking mountain ranges that will have your GoPro salivating at the ready to take the photographs that will have your Instagram followers drooling. 

Adventure Travel Activities in Sydney

When it comes to day trips from Sydney you are certainly spoilt for choice and if you only have a weekend up your sleeve before you have to return to reality you need to make some tough choices to maximise your time. Check out my ultimate Sydney weekend …. without the concrete!

Saturday – A food and wine adventure in the Hunter Valley

You’ll have to be up early for this one but you know what they say about birds and worms! Your reward will be a gorgeous day sipping the citrus and honey flavoured Semillons and fruity Verdelhos that have made the Hunter Valley a wine destination to remember. Couple that with the vibrant plum and subtle oak characters of a rich Merlot, the creaminess of a locally made Labna cheese and some refreshing strawberry and cream flavours in a complex Moscato with a light spritz to finish, and you truly have a recipe for a day that your friends who are too busy to join you will envy!

Of course everyone thinks of wine when you mention the Hunter Valley but there are some true gems in this region that give you even more reason to leave Sydney in your rear view mirror for the 2 hour journey North.

The range of exciting craft beers is just one reason. You won’t be able to ask for a “Dirty granny” or a “Dogbolter” or a “Redback” at the average bar in Sydney … and enjoy it in a rustic chic-setting where the indoors can become the outdoors within a few steps of the floor to ceiling glass doors.

And what about shopping?

There are more shops in Sydney than Lady Gaga could visit in a year but what you won’t find is authentic handmade produce made by locals with more love and genuine passion than a supermarket has ever envisioned. I’m talking about visiting the Handmade In The Hunter Markets which are right on your doorstep most weekends if you visit Kevin Sobel’s wines. Imagine candles that could pass for a chocolate Sundae dessert or handmade jewellery that is nothing short of an artwork that you can wear. You are not just buying a handcrafted item here – you are buying the artistic talents of Hunter Valley locals and you don’t have to have the kind of budget needed to purchase a Rembrandt to take home a piece of Hunter Valley artwork that is the pride and joy of its creator.

These are just a couple of the amazing gems you can discover in the Hunter Valley and the best way to find them all is to join a tour with a guide that is a local. Other than the fact that you won’t have to stress about navigating (or have someone in your group miss out because they need to stay under the legal alcohol limit to drive), you can draw on your guide’s local knowledge of the cellar doors and their wines in order to have a unique tasting experience. Tour guides often have established relationships with the cellar doors and can ensure your group receives a private tasting with cheese and biscuits and other accompaniments that enhance the wines you taste that you wouldn’t normally get at the public tasting bar with a sommelier that is busy serving everyone else from the general public as well as you.

It’s a long way from Sydney (2 hours drive North of Gordon) so travelling with a tour company that offers those little luxury extras like stylish and comfortable leather seats, individual air conditioning controls, a mini-fridge to keep your dairy purchases cold and fresh and tasteful onboard entertainment through a DVD and sound system will take your tour experience to the next level. The wine tours of the Hunter Valley offered by Tastes Of The Hunter Wine Tours are definitely worth checking out. Their Trip Advisor reviews paint a picture of a comfortable ride and mention those little extras that make an experience memorable.

You’ll want to arrive back to Sydney relaxed and ready for a big sleep before your Sunday adventures…

Outdoor Activites in Sydney - Spit Bridge

Sunday – Stunning scenery in the Blue Mountains

Charge your GoPro and bring extra battery packs as you are about to experience nature at its best. From the majesty of the Three Sisters rock formation to the quirky limestone rocks of the Jenolan Caves the Blue Mountains National Park is certainly a treasure trove of sights. All the famous characters of “Downunder” can be found as far as wildlife go with Kangaroos and Koalas in abundance but Wombats, Dingos and little Penguins are also waiting to greet you if you journey to Featherdale Wildlife Park.

If a wild ride is more your style rather than wildlife, then buckle up for the Scenic Railway – Australia’s steepest railway. If you are not afraid of heights then cruising 370 metres above the mountain chasm of the Jamieson Valley also awaits you on the Skyway.

You can relax and enjoy the journey by coach or if you want to skip the peak hour traffic back to Sydney on a Sunday night and do things a little differently, you can enjoy a Parramatta River Cruise to see you back to Sydney as you relax with a drink from the bar in hand.

With so much to see and do beyond the city limits you should certainly think of Sydney as a region rather than just a city. When you do, your holiday and day trip options start to become way too many and too tempting to just think of Sydney as a weekend destination. Maybe you should apply for some extra annual leave and make it a whole week rather than a weekend!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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