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After 3 weeks traveling around the South Island, we were looking forward to a week of mostly staying put in one place on the North Island. We fly into Auckland, picked up a rental car and first headed to Rotorua, a cultural centre of the Maori people and a town known for its thermal mud pools and geysers.
In Rotorua, we stayed in a family room at Wylie Court, a simple hotel for $140 NZD/night.
We had rented a bach (cottage) for 5 nights through the Bookabach website. We paid $850 NZD for a simple bach right across the street from the water in Whitianga, Coromandel Peninsula. Here is the place we rented.
We visited the nearby beaches, found nice little playgrounds and just hung out. We did visit Cathedral Cove, which was really beautiful.
We also visited Hot Water Beach, where the thing to do is to dig holes in the beach and then when the tide goes out (I believe?) you have these thermal pools. Unfortunately we just missed the right tide time, but had fun making a hole nevertheless.
Another highlight was visiting Driving Creek Railway, a cute miniature train that was really picturesque.