Our last night in New Zealand was spent in Whitianga on beautiful Mercury Bay, a 3-hour drive from Auckland on the Coromandel Peninsula. We were very lucky; January 2nd is a kiwi holiday when many Auckland residents flock to the Peninsula. We called the Oceanside Motel. While it was full, Bill Mehaney had a last-minute cancellation for a ground-floor unit in the Waterfront Apartments. What a lovely spot! Our extremely clean 2 bedroom apartment had off-street parking, a roomy bath, kitchenette, living room, and adjoining sun porch. The entire front of the apartment is glass, affording terrific views of the Bay. The doors between the living room and porch and from the porch to the outdoor patio area all open wide, allowing you to watch sunset and greet passersby while enjoying a glass of wine and listening to the ocean. At Bill's recommendation, we walked a couple blocks to dinner at Aris Restaurant on Albert Street. It was lovely. We rose early to cross the road and walk on Buffalo Beach, a long sandy strand heavily peppered with shells of many kinds, before leaving for lunch at the Pepper Tree in Coromandel Town and heading back to Auckland for an evening flight home. Our Waterfront Apartment was a perfect ending to a(nother) wonderful visit to New Zealand's northern island. Wish we'd had a few more nights to enjoy the area. We look forward to returning.
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