A Travellerspoint blog

Meeting Jucy Lucy

Hot springs, a cove and our new home


We were so excited to wake up this morning as today was the day we were due to meet our new travelling companion, our home for the next four weeks. We quickly packed all our stuff together and said some sad goodbyes to our couchsurfing friends before making our way to the Jucy depot. Once there we had to hang around for a little while and during that time we were bombarded with leaflets and maps and all other sorts of bits of glossy paper.

It was then out of the corner of our eyes that we noticed what could only be described as a vision. We rushed outside and there before our very eyes her sleek lines were revealed, her gorgeous colours, her pristine interior. She was all ours and we were delighted to have her. After a quick reccy we headed straight off out onto the open road. Only to pull straight back off the road into the MacDonalds car park when we realised that we had no idea where we going, no food and that we both needed the loo.

We had a brief pow-wow and decided on our plan of action and that we would at some point need some food so after dropping in and out of Maccas to make use of the facilities we drove off to a nearby supermarket to stock up. We could stock up as we managed to get ourselves, through Rach’s contacts, a proper gem of a camper. She has a little fridge, enough room for four people to sleep, a sofa, several tables, a cooker and for some reason a porta potty. We decided there and then to call her Lucy. Probably not very original but it seemed fitting.

Ready and raring to go, with a route to follow using our brand new New Zealand road map we set off for Coromandel Peninsula and Hot Water Beach a measly 175km drive from Auckland. We both took the opportunity to have a spin behind the wheel and although she has one small failing in Alex’s eyes (she’s an automatic) she does drive beautifully. The roads were a little strange as outside of Auckland there were no motorways and even the major roads were single lane highways. Still the views were absolutely breathtaking and we stared open mouthed at the beauty that surrounded us. Although it was only our first days driving we think that it was quite possibly a better drive than the Great Ocean Road!


We arrived at Hot Water Beach a little before sundown and realised our mistake immediately. The beach is famous for the hot water that bubbles from the sand between the low and high tide marks. Our problem was that it was almost high tide and still rising so we had no hope of getting to the hot water beneath. Still we mucked around in the surf before deciding to check out another nearby site; Cathedral Cove.


We followed the signs to the car park and started off down the path, expecting to see the majestic cove open up in front of us. Instead a sign informed us that we still had a forty-five minute trek to get there. The sun was due to go down in twenty but we thought that we would give it our best shot. Fifteen minutes later (timed on a reliable watch!) we arrived puffing and panting on a small strip of sand that led to a massive arch in the cliff that had been formed by sea erosion. It was truly breathtaking to be stood inside such a creation of nature and it was deserving of its name.


Still our adventures weren’t over as we had to stumble back to the van in the dark and it seemed to take considerably longer as a result. We then had a further 100km to cover to get to our first stop of the night, a free campsite in a little town called Te Aroha. We found the town after a hair-raising drive through the dark, navigating the death defying twists and turns, and then struggled to find the campsite. As a result we are now parked up in a public carpark after having asked some lovely security men if we could stay the night. Time to settle down to our first night in our new home.

Rex’s Rules of the Road

  • Have some form of route planned before you set out. Then when you go, you really can go.
  • If you are going to Hot Water Beach and only have a couple of hours to spare make sure you check the tide times for low tide to ensure you actually get to experience the hot water!
  • We’re not too sure on the rules on freedom camping in New Zealand as every source we have tried (both official and unofficial) has returned different answers. As far as we can tell it’s okay unless there is a sign or somebody asks you to move. For more info check out the government website.

Posted by rexontheroad 22:12 Archived in New Zealand

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