Why Children Play in the Sand? Because it’s Awesome!!!


Written by Amber

Last weekend Travis and I decided it was time to see New Zealand. The previous week was spent inside waiting for the rain to subside. That was also the week we realized that the reason the wallpaper is pealing off our bedroom wall is because the wall leaks.

New Zealand is made up of several active volcanoes. This definitely has its draw backs, like the story of the skier that lost his legs when his ski hill erupted. On the upside NZ has a ton of hot springs. Most of these have been turned into tourist spots that you have to pay to enjoy, but Travis and I decided to hit up Hot Water beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Our roommate’s boyfriend told us it would only take 2 hours to get there, and the websites said three hours. So I figured it would take our little car (which Travis refers to as “Pimp Wheels” despite my protests) around 4 hours.

The trip started off great. We packed the car full of couch pillows and blankets that we found in the hall closet. Since we don’t have camping equipment we resigned to sleep in the car. We are troopers, what can I say.

About 40 minutes to our trip things started to go south. The car started acting up, it reminded me of when I crashed my car in a ditch Christmas Eve and messed up the fuel line. It was the first and last time I ever hitchhiked. By the time we pulled off the motorway we were only able to go a swift 20km/h. I knew our car was crap but I had hoped it would last longer then a month.

Outside Auckland

We made it to a gas station and bought some fuel injector cleaner. Neither of us know anything about cars but the description on the container seemed to fit our car perfectly, “hard starts, lost acceleration and rough idling”. I interpreted rough idling as the intense lawnmower sound that comes from our shoebox size engine whenever we stop at a stoplight.

We sat at the nicest McDonalds I’ve ever seen waiting for the fuel injector to work its way into the gas tank. The McDonalds we were loitering at had a café with fancy deserts and sandwiches. We still didn’t eat anything there though. In time we were back on the road headed towards the mountains and the beach. Sure, getting back on the road was risky, but the weather was beautiful, and quite frankly I would rather have our car breakdown in some little NZ town than make it home and sit in our moldy house.

As it turned out the cleaner worked wonders. The car no longer sounded like it was on the verge of exploding. It started up without the need of the choke, and most important we were actuall able to get up to 90 km/h. The countryside was amazing. Rolling hills that seemed to be landscaped. There is truly no place in America that is as beautiful. I hope one day I can calm down enough to live in the middle of nowhere and truly enjoy the solitude and beauty.

It took about four hours for us to get to Hot Water Beach. We stopped several times to let the car rest and let Travis smoke a cigarette. The trip was also lengthened by the fact that our car wouldn’t go over 40km/h up the tiny mountain range we had to cross.

Playing in the Sand

Hot Water Beach was fantastic. There is a hot spring that flows underneath part of the beach, and the water that seeps up from the sand is too hot to touch. You can see scalding steam wafting off the beach where the hot spring water hits the cold southern ocean. So people dig holes in the cold sand next to the hot channel and divert some of the hot water into their manmade hot tub. After finally figuring out how the river worked (at first we thought you just dig a hole and it fills up with hot water, Travis dug many holes before we figured this out) we sat in our little heated pool and enjoyed watching the waves. It was a wholly relaxing day. I was amazed to find that as an adult I can play in sand for hours at a time and be content. As the tide came up people near the shore had to abandon their holes. Most of them went home, but a few of us hole-hopped for a while until the waves washed away all signs of our spas.

I would suggest this to anyone that comes to NZ.

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