A December 2005 trip
to North Island by Slaney
Quote: Christmas and New Year with friends in New Zealand.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 14, 2007
Jellicoe Crescent (PO Box 539)
+64 7 868 7755
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 14, 2007
Restaurant | "Golden Dragon Restaurant & Takeaway"
Golden Dragon Restaurant & Takeaway
648 Pollen Street
+64 7 868 8432
26 Albert St.
+64 7-866 5482
Attraction | "The Teddy Bear Maker"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 14, 2007
Teddy Bear Maker
25 Main Road - Tirau
Attraction | "Waitomo Glow Worm Caves"
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo Caves Road
Waitmo, New Zealand
64 7 878 8227
We were on a journey round the Coromandel Peninsular – an area largely missed by tourists, who when visiting the North Island tend to go further north to the Bay of Islands. Our journey would take us up the east coast, across the north part of the peninsula and down the west coast. Having previously visited Tairua, the rest of the journey was new territory and our first nights stop would be Whittianga which gave us time to take the trip slowly, looking at everywhere we thought would be interesting. Leaving Tauranga at 9am we were ready for morning coffee by the time we reached twin harbour towns Tairua and Pauanui. The area is very pretty, Tairua having one main road with cafes, restaurants, bars and souvenirs shops and being on the coast it is popular with the boating/fishing people. Pauanui – a purpose built holiday community – has panoramic views from the top of the 1200 ft mountain of the same name. The volcanic peak Paku overlooks the harbour of both towns and a 15 minute walk up the steep slopes leads you to the top. A ferry commutes between the two towns every hour in summer.Venturing into the area of Mercury Bay – so named due to Captain Cook landing here in 1769 to observe the transit of Mercury – we discovered numerous small communities, some with hard to pronounce Maori names like Kuaotunu and Wharekho (Cooks first landing place in New Zealand), then there is Cathedral Cove (which is a marine reserve) all have beautiful white sandy beaches. Some we exited the car and explored more fully, others like Ferry Landing - a small town on the water, so named for the ferry taking passengers to and from Whittianga at a cost of NZ$2 per person - we drove straight through.One of our stops was Hot Water Beach where there are art galleries and shops. There are two unique hot water springs on the beach, but only accessible at low tide. Spades are for hire at various shops and you can dig a hole to create your very own spa and relax in the warm waters. One hour boat trips of the coast line are also on offer. Whittianga is a popular holiday resort and being the main holiday season was thronging with people. We saw a B&B with vacancies just outside the town, but decided to go further to see if there was anything available. The first Motel we stopped at in town was full, but the lady made a telephone call and said she had a room for us down the road. This turned out to be in a private apartment owned by a man named Peter (see journal "Peters’ Place").After settling in, we walked to the marina and spent two hours just sitting on the headland at the mouth of the harbour relaxing, enjoying the sun and watching the activity of the herons, seagulls, cormorants and a kingfisher as well as boats returning from the days fishing. Next morning was raining, but after breakfast we set off for Coromandel Town and soon the sun appeared. Coromandel Town was a pioneering town and has restored heritage architecture from these days. Coromandel Goldfield Centre offers one hour tours 7 days a week 10am – 4pm at a cost of NZ$6 per adult and NZ$3 per child. Gold panning is also available. We enjoyed wandering round the many interesting shops and after coffee, found a loop road. Peter had told us we could go further round the Coromandel, but the road was unpaved – which my husband was not keen on – but we went anyway.
The views of the bays were spectacular, although the road was quite daunting in places, at one time it looked as if we were making our way straight into the sea. This whole road is very scenic with spur roads to beautiful bays, scenic views of the rocky coast line from the tops of hills and lovely country side on the flat, but the one thing missing all along are places to pull in to admire the view and take the odd photo. As we dropped down the other side of the mountains, the road hugged the coastline, which changed from the white sandy beaches of the east side to rocks and rough seas and we entered Thames – named for London’s River Thames.Known as the Gateway to the Coromandel, Thames is 90 minutes drive from Auckland, with a population of 18,000 plus. There was a gold mine boom in the late 1800s but the quartz rock proved too tough for extracting the gold and it was short lived. Noisy during this time, on our arrival most places seemed closed and the historic main street was deserted, but there were a few Motels on the approach and restaurants were open in the town. We had no difficulty getting accommodation here and watched a beautiful sunset over the Forth of Thames. Activities offered here are Historical and Mining Museums, Goldmine Trail, a boardwalk through the mangroves to a Bird Hide as well as many bush walks and a Saturday morning market, offering local crafts, collectibles and produce as well as a modern shopping mall.
Sheffield, United Kingdom