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New Zealand – Coromandel Peninsula – 16th/17th November

We drove from west to east but the distances are never too far in this country. Although when you’re driving Po it does take a little longer! We were heading for the Coromandel Peninsula and it took around 3 hours via Auckland which was a mistake. The road signs over here a little hit and miss! We based ourselves in the Kauaerranga Valley DOC campground at Wainora. The DOC information site there is really good in fact, it seems to be newly built and contains loads of info on the area as you’d expect with the addition of some very helpful staff! We picked up an area hiking map so that we could plan a few hikes whilst on the Peninsula and went off down another gravel dirt path to the 4th campsite on the left.

When we got to the campsite which has some nice tables and fire pits around the camp areas there was one other camper on site. He’s been there for a while already and walked passed us with a freshly killed possum in hand! He just chatted to us as if everything was fairly normal and told us that the hike up was a good one, especially as the sun was out! After settling into camp we got our boots on and hiked up the Waoimu Kauri path. It starts on a fairly easy trail over bridges and streams,  and through dense forest, then come the steps. There are a lot of steps to climb and for the most part we decided to run up them, couldn’t quite manage all of them but weren’t far off.

We reached the Kauri trees after about an hour and fifteen, again big trees that stand out as a phenomenon from the forest around them. The path then continues onwards towards Crosbies Hut, it would take a further 3 hours to reach the hut but we didn’t want to go that far. So we hiked for a further hour through muddy paths, over fallen trees following the orange signs. We then turned around and made our way back to the campground. We only passed 2 other hikers on the route and back at camp no-one else joined us so it was quiet night. Dinner was good; omelette, lentils and pitta bread! Camping meals”us! We hope to get more adventurous!

The next morning we were off again, this time we were heading north. En-route we stopped at Coromandel town to find some wifi and pick up a few food items. Coromandel town is an idyllic seaside town, with a small harbour and old colonial buildings throughout. We found The Chai Teahouse in the centre of town next door to Umo. There is a lovely vibe to this little tea house, old sofas, home-baked delights and a big assortment of chai tea! We opted for the chai and took advantage of their cosiness and wifi offering. They offer the first 30 mins for free and thereafter it should e $6 per hour, we used it for 2.5 hours and only paid for the one, but we did have 2 chai teas and a soup. The staff are really friendly too.

After re-fuelling and getting our much needed blog posts online we set off for the most northern points of the peninsula. It’s quite a long drive although the distance isn’t that much mainly because the last 30km or so is on gravel roads. We stopped off at a few places along the way before eventually arriving at the DOC Port Jackson campsite, this and the previous night had cost $9 each. They have good facilities at this campground including sinks and a sheltered picnic area, plus the other folks camping were friendly locals asking us all sorts of questions and offering advice on where to go in NZ.

We took a round trip 3 hour hike along the coast-line along the Muriwai Coastal track (we notice repetition occurring in name places!). This was another blustery walk with more steps and steep sections, but once agin the views were pretty amazing this time looking out over to the Great Barrier Island. When we reached the metal plate illustrating the places that we were looking out to we turned around and took the road back to the campsite. On our way back we were stopped by staring cows on the hillside and back at camp after dinner the clouds began to clear and we took in the beautiful colours forming fro the sunset. Delicious!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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One Comment

  1. jan
    Posted 8 Dec ’11 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Just been throught the last 5 sections on NZ. Good to share your journey again. Love the last sunset picture. Vehicle looks pretty well packed and most functional.

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