When I tell people I’m from the Hibiscus Coast, they think I live in paradise. Well… they’re spot on. The Hibiscus Coast is a place where shoes are optional, swimsuits are mandatory, and if you pass someone on the street, be sure to say hello. This little peninsula sticks out of mainland New Zealand as if into its own unique realm, and it’s is the place I’ve grown up calling home. What would 24 hours on the Hibiscus Coast look like, I hear you ask? Take my hand, come with me…
It’s the morning. You wake up to the sound of native birds, and perhaps the occasional pesky seagull. The sun is warm on your back, but there is always a coastal breeze. The Hibiscus Coast isn’t a place people go to party or shop. They go to relax, rejuvenate, and adventure. So, let’s start the day with breakfast at our local organic café. Two Spoons is an environment, coeliac, and vegan friendly café. The home of palette walls, compostable take away cups, and a veggie garden. Here we can munch on your choice of divine salads, gluten free caramel slices, and washed down with a chai latte to die for. Eat up, we have a big day ahead of us!
I mentioned the Hibiscus Coast isn’t the place to shop… but it’s overrun with second-hand shops. Our 7 thrift shops offer crazy-low prices and are operated by the loveliest people, always up for a chit-chat, just like all ‘Coasties’. You could spend hours and hours here, bewildered by the options and variety of strange things. After getting our shopping-fix, pop on your walking shoes as we head out to the tip of the Hibiscus Coast for an adventure.
Shakespear Park sits at the end of the peninsula; pest free, vigorously protected, and a safe home for our threatened native wildlife. This regional park is one of the most visited in New Zealand, as it combines conservation, recreation, and farming in one beautiful headland. I even got married here in a clearing amongst the trees! Continuing on with our tour, pass through pest control fences and walk through the native bush to visit the glistening waterfall. Next, head up to the lookout for a view that spans all the way to Auckland City. From here, walk along the farmland, and have a friendly chat with a passing local or sheep. I hope you’ve bought your swimsuit! You’d think with the farmland and waterfalls, a beach would no longer be insight. Wrong. Wherever you find yourself on the Hibiscus Coast, chances are, you’ll be in walking distance of the seaside.
After we’ve crashed about in the waves, soaked up some rays on the sand, and played a game of Frisbee, it’s time to experience our famous local cuisine. Fish ‘n’ Chips! Wrapped in newspaper, no cutlery in site, crispy, hot, and paired with t-sauce. Fish and chips on the beach amongst squawking seagulls is what the Hibiscus Coast is all about. We are at yet another beach, but this is just a day in the life of a Coastie. We can never escape the water.
You sit and watch people walking their dogs who roam off lead, and children playing gleefully in the water. Spot the occasional optimistic runner who will end up in the ocean for a swim or joining us for fish and chips. Enjoy the company of the people you are with, and the feeling of the sand under your toes. Time stops easily on the coast. It’s all about the people and the outdoors, breathing in the salt air and taking time to relax. Countless holiday homes fill up in Summer, bringing with them holidaying vibes. In summer, the Hibiscus Coast feels like the only place in the world anyone would want to be.
The Hibiscus Coast is a special place. I am so grateful to call it my home. Every time I return from holiday or a stint overseas, the tranquil vibes sneak up on me and remind me of the coast’s uniqueness and warmth. If you need help, there is always someone to lend their skills. If you need a laugh, you can always chat to a friendly stranger. If you need to relax, a walk on the beach or stroll through the park is the best way to unwind. Today you’ve experienced the Hibiscus Coast in its true authentic state. Put your shoes back on regretfully, say a sad goodbye to the beach, and enter your reality- please make sure to visit again someday!
Are you the kind of traveller that prefers to be in the hustle and bustle of a city? Toronto might be for you. Click here to learn what 24 hours looks like in Toronto…