Tuesday, 17 May 2016

NZ: The Coromandel

Oh my goodness I am so far behind on the blog it makes my brain hurt to think about catching up....

Here goes!

So I ended last time with packing up the tent at Dickies Gorge.  We had to be in Thames for 6pm, so we decided to stay in the area we were in as Thames wasn't too far away.  Anja booked onto a goldmining tour, and I went for a walk in Waihi - except I couldn't find the right track and ended up walking through bushes on an animal track before finally admitting defeat, heading back to the car and taking the car for a badly needed car wash.  On the way to Thames, we stopped at Karangahake Gorge and did a little walk along old goldmining railway tracks.

We had arranged to stay at Jayne and Sam's, a lovely couple I had met in the Trading Post (the shop I worked at in Glenorchy).  When they heard I was English we got talking, and they offered us a room to stay in when we got to the Coromandel, which was very lovely of them!

We were an hour early, so parked up along the beach and watched the sun set.  When we went to leave, we realised we'd left the car lights and radio on, and the 7 year old car battery couldn't take it.....cue an embarrassing phone call to Jayne to apologise and ask for jump leads!!

We were fed and watered and introduced to their gorgeous Burmese cat, then shown our rooms (our own rooms! Luxury!!) where we slept soundly.  It's amazing how trusting people in NZ are - they showed us where they hide the spare key, and then left for work in the morning, so we were free to come and go as we pleased!  We had a really lazy day and the only thing we did was drove to Paku Hill and did a little walk up it (it literally took 7 minutes up!). We may have stopped at Maccy D's on the way back....oops! We then had a few beers on the beach with a fire, it was a lovely chilled out evening.

awkward family photo

The following day we waved goodbyes and drove up the West coast of the Coromandel, which is so so so beautiful. My favourite place on the North Island so far! The road it pretty hairy - very windy and hilly curling up the coast line - rocks one side and sheer drop to the sea on the other, and you have to contend with logging trucks speeding down the other side of the road.

We camped at Port Jackson, got told we had put the tent up in the wrong place and had to move it.  The flipside of this is we moved it to a spot where a rabbit lived, so spent the next day throwing it bread and trying to tempt it to eat out of our hands.

We went for a coastal walk which was beautiful - a nice and easy tramp along the cliffs, with bright green rolling hills falling into the sea.  The green here is so green  - I can't describe it!

The walk took quicker than expected and we had a chilled afternoon sitting on our camping chairs by the beach, reading books and trying to roast marshmallows by sticking them on a fork and heating them with a match.  It sort of works....

The next day we visited Cathedral Cove, which is essentially a 20 minute walk to go and see a big rock arch.  It's nice but I expect it would be a whole lot nicer if it had no tourists and felt more undiscovered.

We also went to one of my favourite places yet - Whiti Farm!!!! It was 10 bucks to get in, and when we arrived there was no one around to take our payment apart from a very friendly dog called Storm.  He followed us everywhere with his little tail wagging.  We wandered about trying to find the owner, and were greeted with another dog, and then a kitten, and then another kitten, and then another!!! It was like christmas.  We played with the dogs and cats for half an hour or so and to be honest I felt like I didn't need to go see the rest of the farm, so we were about to leave when the owner turned up, so we decided to go in anyway.

WOW! It was brilliant. They had rabbits, donkeys, geese, chickens, wallabies, pigs, mini horses, ostriches, deer, emus, sheep - and you could hand feed them all! Amazing. I think I have decided when I go home I am going to open up my own petting farm. Every day would be an absolute joy!  I even got headbutted by the dog, spat on by the llama and bitten by the horse, but I was still happy :)

We decided to skip hot water beach as the weather wasn't great and we figured it would be filled with tourists and we were freedom camping that evening and didn't want to get covered in sand and salt water.

On the following day we decided to do the Pinnacles hike.  It had been recommended by a few people and our hike tally on the North Island was pretty low.  It was a pretty walk up to the hut, we stopped and ate lunch then carried on to the Pinnacles summit.  This bit was quite an adventure, scrabbling up rocks and climbing ladders.  I was a bit disappointed with the view at the top - I think I preferred the view on the way up.  We headed back down a different way which was super slippery and I nearly ended up on my bum many times, before heading back to Jayne and Sam's - they were actually away for the evening but had said we could crash at their house anyway - so nice of them!

they're shorts not pants!

We also saw a corker of a sunset - look at these!!

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