When is winter in The Coromandel?
As the long summer days slowly wane into autumn's golden light, the sea remains warm and the summer feeling persists through March and into April. Winter's arrival is gradual, almost imperceptible day by day. Days shorten, the odd shower returns baked lawns to lush green and the first frost in inland valleys sometime in June makes us realise that winter must be here. Without the distinct passing of seasons in our coastal environment, protected by the vast Pacific on most fronts, it is almost as if we have summer and not summer.
Winter at the beach
If the winter blues are knocking at the door, it's pretty easy to look outside and follow your gaze out into our nature in the cooler months for a dose of Vitamin D, the perfect antidote. Apparently, we need some all year round to keep our mental health on track and a short walk with great lungfuls of salty air makes a good wellness boost. Weather that makes others want to sit inside by the fire lures us out in the fresh salty air where the sound of the waves is always present.
Strolling vast expanses of deserted beaches swept clean by passing fronts there are many interesting treasures washed up from the depths that are often not seen. One day a large strange lump of ambergris washed up, but small curled purple shells, long strands of kelp and sea-bashed wood are more every day.
Our locals are beach people in all seasons. Many fish and surf, clad in jackets and wetsuits and some start every morning with a swim. The Coromandel's version of not-so-cold water therapy. They swear it sets the day up. The beach in winter inspires physical activity. It's not the time to lie on your towel with a book (although there are some days you could do this in a sheltered spot), but time to race the foaming wavelets, throw a ball for the dog and explore rock pools for starfish and crabs.
Letting off steam
If the pressure-cooker feeling of your every day is overwhelming at times, one way to put commitments and deadlines behind you is by booking yourself out for a wellness break in The Coromandel. The place where Kiwis holiday is also a consideration when the temperature falls, for many of the same reasons it's a summer hotspot. The slower pace and simple way of life allow to you to reconnect with a more healthful tempo. Coffee in the morning sun, a walk in the bush, a fish off the wharf, lunch with friends and neighbours and barbeques in the backyard or at the park. Relaxation and unwinding are the first sensations when you arrive for a Coromandel getaway.
Cold weather therapies
And to get your blood pumping, there are adrenaline activities here that come into their own in winter. Unlike some other places, all our tracks and parks are open year-round. Our mountain bike trails ride well in winter, with less dust and summer maintenance has set them up well. A hike to the summit of The Pinnacles seems less taxing, and the cool crisp air lengthens the view of the shining eastern seaboard and the iconic peak of Mount Paku. The star-laden night sky is at its best for astrophotography at this time, if you elect to spend a night in the hut.
One of the best things about winter and early spring diving is that as the water temperature drops below about 18 degrees the algal blooms that sometimes restrict visibility through summer disappear. Any swell will stir up the bottom and affect visibility, but the usual pre-dive eye on the weather forecast sorts that out. Adapting to the conditions is key to any successful dive whether you refer a full 9mm suit or feel comfortable in a 5mm. The Aldermen are home to some of the best dive sites in New Zealand and closer to shore and the Mercury Bay are no less abundant in features and wildlife. You don't need cold blood in your veins to experience the exhilarating benefits of some time in colder waters, whether you are after a feed or a photo.
Hot water remedies
We have more passive wellness pursuits as well, with the manifestations of the volcanic activity that are apparent throughout the central North Island. Our top picks for thermal therapies:
Dip and dine at The Lost Spring
Dig your own spa at Hot Water Beach
Soak in the outdoor tub at Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat
Listen to the night sounds from the spa overlooking the sea at Orokawa Bay Retreat
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