After the quick stop in Auckland it was great to finally see some of New Zealands beautiful landscapes. With four weeks in New Zealand and only one week on the North Island, time was limited. So instead of trying to see and photograph it all I focussed my efforts on a few select places.

On the Coromandel Peninsula I stayed for three days at Hahei Holiday Resort. I had reserved a beach front campervan site, which was a great base to explore the spectacular coastline. No need to wander far here. Hahei beach is already a wonderful place to photograph with all the little islands and sea stacks lined up at the horizon.

After a rainy evening and night I wasn’t expecting to photograph at sunrise. But after the last downpour around 4am in the morning it cleared and I ran to the northern end of the beach to reach the rocks, which I had scouted the day before.

Colorful sunrise at beautiful Hahei beach at Coromandel Peninsula

Hahei Beach
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 LII | Lee 0.6 Hard GND + Singh-Ray 0.6 Reverse
Exif: f/11 | 19mm | ISO 100 | multiple exposures for focus stacking, 1s – 6s

Cathedral Cove

The weather proved to be very interesting that and the following days on the Coromandel Peninsula. A constant change between sunshine and showers. This was great for photography, especially during day. So I did the short hike to Cathedral Cove. This place is really awe inspiring. Huge cliffs, a great sea cave, a large number of sea stacks and even a waterfall at one end of the beach. To top it all off there is a toilette with a view 😉

The best thing was, while I was there there weren’t all too many people. Beeing there before noon during the week with such inconsistent weather did the trick I think. I scouted and photographed the beach for a few hours before returning to the campsite. Unfortunately the evening was all rainy again, so there was no sunset to photograph. Although the Hahei coastline is on the eastern side of Coromandel there are a few viewpoints in the hills which could be interesting even during sunset. During my time there I did see no interesting sunset light though.

The sun behind sail rock at Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Sunshine
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 LII | Lee 0.6 Soft GND
Exif: f/11 | 16mm | ISO 100 | multiple exposures between 1/45s and 0.3s

But after another rainy and stormy night I saw some beautiful light in the morning. Around 4am I made my way back to Cathedral Cove and arrived just in time to have the full moon shining through the streaking clouds. At this time I was really the only person down there and it was magical. If you’re a photographer reading this I don’t have to tell you to head there before sunrise, but even if you’re not a photographer you should make the early start to experience this atmosphere, if you have the chance to visit.

Again I stayed a few hours. This morning it finally felt as if I had really arrived in New Zealand. On the hike back to Hahei I stopped for another scene, which had already struck me as photogenic the day before. But then the light had not been right. I was already anticipating how it would look in the early morning light as I hiked up the path to the viewpoint.

A full moon glimpses through the clouds at Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Moonshine
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 LII
Exif: f/11 | 16mm | ISO 100 – ISO 400 | multiple exposures for dynamic range and focus stacking, 30s – 119s

Lush green meadows at the Coromandel Coast

Coromandel Coastline
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Tramron 24-70mm f/2.8 | Lee 0.6 Soft GND
Exif: f/11 | 27mm | ISO 100 | 1/90s, 1/20s, 1/6s

New Chums

Around noon rain set in and unlike the day before it continued without any sunny spells in between. It didn’t look as there would be a change in Hahei so I drove up further north to Whangapoua. It has a nice beach but this wasn’t the reason I drove up there. At the northern end of Whangapoua beach is a little stream. Crossing it and then hiking along the low tide line for 10 minutes I came to a little path leading through the forest. Another 10 minutes later I stood on one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen – New Chums Beach. It reminded me a bit of Anse Coco on the Seychelles, only that it was colder and the vegetation was different. But the sand, the colors, the little alcoves under the trees kind of moved me back to the time I stayed on La Digue. Even the sun was shining up there.

Since this place is a bit off the beaten track, in the four or so hours I was there I encountered only around 10 to 15 other people. Most of the time no other person was there at all besides me and my girlfriend – although I’m always writing “I”, I’m not completely alone on those trips 😉 . After taking a few photos I sat down in the sand and just enjoyed the scenery.

A Panoramic view of New Chums Beach in northern Coromandel

New Chums
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 LII | Lee 0.6 Soft GND | Kirk Panoramic Plate
Exif: f/13 | 19mm | ISO 100 | 10 vertical frames for 180° Panorama

Green rolling hills, a mountain line and a stormy sky

Coromandel Countryside
Equipment: Canon EOS 5D Mark II | Tramron 24-70mm f/2.8 | Lee 0.6 Soft GND
Exif: f/11 | 64mm | ISO 100 | 1/60s, 1/15s, 1/4s

The landscape on the Coromandel Peninsula is breathtaking. It’s a variety of thick forest with huge ferns, wide rolling hills, craggy mountains, mile long beaches and steep cliffs. And this is just the eastern side. I could have easily stayed the one week I had planned for the North Island on Coromandel alone, if I had wanted to explore the whole area including the west and the more remote north.

But as it was the accomodation near Karapiro plus the Hobbiton Movie set tour was already booked. And so I left the Coromandel Peninsula on the following day and headed down south.

Capture One