A highlight of my recent visit to the New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula was spending a day at New Chums Beach. New Chums Beach is an gorgeous, unspoilt beach, accessed only on foot or by boat. It is one of the few beaches in NZ that has never been developed, and we want to keep it that way!
I was staying with friends at their bach (beach house) at neighbouring Whangapoua Beach in mid January.
Getting to New Chums by foot is a bit of an adventure, which makes it all the more fun. Firstly one needs to cross the narrow, tidal estuary (which the locals call the lagoon) at the southern end of Whangapoua Beach. It is best to do this at or near low tide. We crossed about 2 hours before full tide and the water came up to our waists. (At full tide the water will come up to your shoulders and at low tide your calves). The water is not fast flowing so it is pretty safe.
After negotiating the estuary crossing we then walked over large and medium sized boulders around the southern end of Whangapoua Beach before cutting across the point to New Chums through native bush, which includes a beautiful stand of Nikau Palms. The first glimpse of New Chums is breathtaking.
The beach has a mixture of golden and pink sand. Unlike Whangapoua Beach which is backed by sand dunes, New Chums is lined with large Pohutukawa trees which provide welcome shelter from the sun and wonderful picnic spots. Pink cliffs and hills clad with native bush rise form the back of the beach. Two small streams cut across the beach at the northern end, one forming a safe, shallow lagoon that children love to swim in.
As with many other New Zealand beaches, one needs to be careful when swimming at New Chums. We were there after the main Christmas and New Year’s holidays were over, so there were no surf lifesavers on duty. Within a few hours either side of high tide there was quite a strong undertow, and fairly decent waves the day we were there. After swimming in warm tropical waters overseas I now find New Zealand waters a bit chilly so I chose not to swim but my friends did. They said the water was warmer than at neighbouring Whangapoua Beach. This might be because New Chums is a smaller and more sheltered bay.
New Chums Beach is idyllic and unspoilt. There are few of these left now so we need to keep the developers away. I loved the walk to get there too – it made me feel like I had earned the reward :-)