September 4, 2017
Beautiful sunny morning to drive up the west and down the east Coromandel Coast which is still in the Haraki Gulf Maritime Park on the Pacific Ocean.
We didn’t do the Hot Water Beach soak but did drive along the coast to Cathedral Cove. We could see the giant stone arch but not the waterfalls from high above the cove car park. Drove down to Hahei Beach ( population 270 with 7,000 in the summer) which is a quaint, quiet beach town. Beautiful day to look out at all of the craggy islands in the distance.
From there we drove along SR 25 to Whitianga which is known for its sandy beaches and a base for tuna and marlin fishing particularly between January and March. We walked the esplanade to get a little exercise. Nice town that was quiet but bustles in summer. Bought some wine and groceries at a convenient Count Down.
We knew we would have a lot of very slow coast driving today so decided to take the 309 Road to lop off about 30 km. This is an unsealed but well maintained road that cuts across the Coromandel Range and ends 3 km below Coromandel Town. Well! Imagine a gravel, barely one lane Trinity Road for 25 km. It was a beautiful drive through the Coromandel Forest that we didn’t appreciate to the fullest! I think Bob got a lot of driving practice for the South Island! It was a bit scary and we wondered why we were so adventuresome to save 30 km!
The drive down the west coast was gorgeous! Rolling green hills dropping into the peninsula with LOTS of cows. We found our first “vista point” with a magnificent view across the Firth of Thames where we had lunch. Not trying to sound jaded but it reminded us very much of driving down the coast on Hwy 1 from Sea Ranch with many more rolling green hills and cows! The drive was very slow with very narrow lanes, often only one.
Our destination was Tauranga, one of NZ’s fastest growing cities and busiest ports. It is more a convenient place to stop rather than a destination. That said, we are staying at the Tauranga Tourist Park in town owned by the nicest people. We are down by the bay in a well-maintained, clean and tidy spot. Dan could not have been nicer in helping us to get settled and recommendations for things to see. We definitely want to see the museum and get some walking in tomorrow although it is supposed to rain.
We drove 175 kms today leaving at 10:00 and arriving at 5:00. Too long! We are getting more adjusted to where things conveniently belong although I have yet to find my backup glasses which makes me crazy!!! It’s the little things. Trying to slow down which should happen in the next days.
Tomorrow we call Britz to arrange to get things fixed in Rotorura where we will stay for a day or two..
Last night we had tuna and ham sandwiches with a Prospect chardonnay. Not a memorable dinner. Tonight we are having baked chicken Kiev, Moroccan rice and lemon broccoli. 2016 The Edge Pinot (Martinborough). Wines are not inexpensive. This one was$21 US.