When Tracey confirmed our booking at Old Coach Oasis, she also included a list of local attractions and points of interest. It turns out there’s a lot to do in the Eastern Bay of Plenty! This made the trip down both longer and much more enjoyable than usual.
On our drive down from Tauranga we decided to forgo the usual stops – Mount Maunganui, MacLaren falls etc, and went straight for Tracey’s recommendations. First up was Kaiate falls, a beautiful series of waterfalls on a short family friendly 20-30 minute loop track. The upper waterfalls cascade down a series of pools while the waterhole at the last waterfall is big enough for swimming (for those willing to brave the cold water) and has some great spots for jumping off.
Next up on the way to Old Coach Oasis was the Raparapahoe waterhole. This one took a bit more effort to get to. 15-20 minutes one way with a steep descent and a few paths to take with not much signage. The reward at the end is a huge swimming hole surrounded by native bush with plenty of rocks and fallen logs to set up a picnic or do some sunbathing. The water was definitely colder here, but braving it meant getting to climb the waterfall to explore the stream above and jump back off to get home.
A quick stop for some fish and chips in Te Puke, then twenty minutes through farmland to Old Coach. A driveway through a trained Feijoa grove and past a citrus nursery gets us to the house where Tracey is waiting with marshmallows, home grown fruit and freshly squeezed tangelo juice to take us to our accommodation.
A beautiful sunset was the perfect backdrop to our arrival. A camping atmosphere but with a flush toilet and full kitchen – what more could you ask for. A burning brazier and a candle lit outdoor bath to warm up after our adventures were just the icing on the cake.
Breakfast with the farm fresh produce and a view across the valley to Pukehina beach got us inspired to do some more exploring. It’s only a 5 minute drive out to the beach, or a minute or two further to an even more remote coastline. We decided to check them both out and couldn’t pick which one was better. Both seemed to go on forever with winding streams and huge cliffs dotted along the way. Apart from a few fishermen trying their luck, it looked like we were the first ones to have discovered it all.
Just time for a quick dip in the river at the bottom of the farm before we had to say goodbye to Tracey and Graeme. Our stay had everything – adventure, tranquility and new experiences. What more could you ask for when you go Off The Beaten Track?