|Auckland is a massive city which sprawls out in all directions for loads of miles and encompasses hundreds of islands within the city boundaries and a fair amount of the Tasman Sea. We say this because you would think it would be tricky finding your way out of there. But no, we just looked for State Highway 1 heading south and after rounding a corner a nice big signpost said SH1 South. So off we headed.
We arrived at Waihi Beach in late afternoon after a stop off in a town called Thames, which was really quite nice, with loads of cafes in a very "straight as a die" high street....it was also known as mural town ..we have no idea why and the numerous paintings on every wall didn't give us any clues ! Another incredibly friendly town ..we popped into the local museum and everyone was really interested in where we were from and our trip.
This area of New Zealand is basically farmland, with loads of cows right, left and centre and not many sheep so far. It all feels so peaceful, tranquil and spacious. Or maybe we just like living upside down.
We checked into our 'cabin'..it was very basic with a sort of kitchen , whereby we had to put the kettle on the floor when using the two (under-powered heating rings). But we coped...and it was lovely, again really friendly with the campers popping by to offer us dinner !! I don't think we look all that under-nourished!!!
Waihi beach is very large indeed and goes on for miles in each direction, so we spent a lot of time wandering about, getting sand between our toes. Heaven ! The only down side was that we put some washing on, draped it on the line and went in to town to check out the shops - and then it started raining cats and dogs. Ho hum!
We only had 2 nights here and loads we wanted to see ..a highlight was Karangahake Gorge, where several companies set up processing plants in the late 1800s during the gold rush. They constructed a mile long tunnel, which cost about £7,000!!...we walked through it in pitch darkness and had great fun scaring some annoying tourists (hopefully American) who thought they were well hard ! some lovely walks here along the river and as always some stunning views .
Next stop Whakatane .