Winston Aldworth is the Herald's Travel Editor.

Beach check: Otama Bay, Coromandel

Winston Aldworth lays down his towel at a classic Coromandel beach.

The Pyramids of Giza, recreated in the sands of Otama Bay. Photo / Winston Aldworth
The Pyramids of Giza, recreated in the sands of Otama Bay. Photo / Winston Aldworth

Where: Fifteen minutes north of Whitianga on the Coromandel Peninsula.

Sand quality: Gleaming white and fine, with a fingernails-on-blackboard squeak when you drag your heels.

The swim: On our visit the waves were catchable, but breaking very close to the shoreline. There's a rocky outcrop at the northern end of the beach.

Water temperature: A comfortable 22C when we were there last weekend.

Safety: There are no lifeguards here and the rescue helicopter is a sadly frequent visitor.

Shade: We found some cracking pohutukawa trees at the northern end, with a small creek spilling into the ocean for the kids to splash about in.

How crowded? Not at all. We were there over Easter Weekend and there was hardly a soul about.

Fellow beach dwellers: Random as, mate. Me and my mate Sam built a giant dam on the creek to entertain our kids. We thought our effort was impressive until we noticed a dad nearby had built a sandcastle scale replica of the Pyramids of Giza.

Accommodation: There are houses and baches to rent at Otama Bay — and even more at nearby Kuaotunu.

Otama Beach - stunning even on an overcast day. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Sandra Vallaure
Otama Beach - stunning even on an overcast day. Photo / Creative Commons image by Flickr user Sandra Vallaure

Development: There are some plush pads, but this beach remains a Kiwi classic, mercifully free of retail spots. Any self-respecting property developer would sell their last three acres of Parnell Rd for the chance to bang apartments and retail space into Otama. When they come, man the barricades.

What's nearby? Just around the corner at Kuaotunu, there's a campground and a cracking cafe (Luke's Kitchen).

Awesomeness rating: Otama Bay is close to my idea of paradise. An easy 9/10.

- NZ Herald

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