|Views from the West Coast of the Coramandel Peninsula|
We elected to drive up the west coast to Coromandel, where our first views took in the Firth of Thames and later the Hauraki Gulf. From here we tracked across to Whitianga on the East Coast of the Peninsula. As you can see by the photos, the scenery is quite exquisite, although I wouldn't say the same about the road that hugs the coastline, as it is narrow and windy and I'm lead to believe, very foggy at times. Never the less, there are areas set aside for cars to pull over and these are situated in spots affording the best panoramic views. We met a couple on a tandem bicycle who were planning to take this route and all I could say to them was "Be extremely careful, as there is very little shoulder between the road and the sheer drop to the sea and it could be very easy to get squeezed out when two cars are passing each other with the cyclist on the verge." However, if a cyclist decided to ride fairly early in the morning and providing there was no fog, the views may well be worth the risk. If you are an artist or craftsman, Coromandel Town maybe exactly what you are looking for. It's most popular attraction is the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries, originally built to convey wood and clay to well known potter, Barry Bricknell's Pottery.
|Some views to the North|
We by passed the small town of Matarangi which lay approximatel half way between Coromandel and Whitianga on the northern end of Wangapoua Harbour.
Whitianga is situated on Mercury Bay, named by Captain James Cook in 1769 due to his observance of the transit of the planet Mercury. By now the hunger pains were starting and we decided that this would be an ideal place to have lunch. and on the menu was fish chowder, an old favourite of ours, which we ordered. We were pleased with our choice, as it was, in a word, delicious.
If you are around these parts in August or September you may wish to take part in the Scallop Festival.
There are so many things to do on this peninsula, that a family could easily spend a couple of weeks here. There is kayaking, swimming, diving, snorkeling, horse riding, sailing to name a few and thats just for the active types. For the passive or stressed visitor, there is arts & crafts, hot pools, lazing on white sand beaches, breweries and wineries, tours, swalking. For a more comprehensive list, left click on the highligted names and be linked to a website.
If you are really looking for something non strenuous but unique, drive approximately 12m km south, just past the town of Hahei and you will come across Hot Water Beach . Merely by scraping a small depression in the sand, it will fill with hot water. Be warned however, this is really hot thermal water and may need tempering with some cold water straight from the ocean before immersing the pinkies, otherwise you may be in for quite a shock as this water is very hot.
As time was running short, we reluctantly cut our tour short and returned to Thames.
Cheers and safe riding,