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Thread: Our Coromandel break

  1. #1
    Glenda's Avatar
    Glenda is offline All Knowing Deity
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    ::) ;D

    Now the kids are back at school, thought I would give my impressions of the places we visited during our Coromandel Peninsula holiday. Not exactly the ?grand tour of New Zealand? (!) but it might interest someone on here. (Apologies for quality of photos - taken with an ageing 35mm.)

    Kids are generally intolerant of traveling long distances and mine are no exception, so I had to keep driving distances down to about 2-3 hours a day. Any longer and the moaning starts, plus they tend to fall asleep in the car and are still running around at 11 o?clock that night! New Zealand is a big country (slightly bigger than the UK) and it takes about four hours to get down to Auckland from the Bay of Islands where we live. Having been to Whangarei before, we didn?t stop there this time. For a small city, I think Whangarei is very pleasant ? reasonably scenic, and plenty of shops, factories, and beaches close by. South of Whangarei is the Marsden Point refinery, which surprisingly is open to the public; we did not visit though. We stopped instead at Waipu, 20 mins south of Whangarei and had lunch and a walk around. Waipu is a strange place ? very proud of its Scottish heritage, with Scottish road names and host of the NZ Highland Games; otherwise, there is not much there to see. I booked a motel unit at Wellsford, another town with not much to see, about an hour north of Auckland.

    For those who have not been to NZ, motels are usually single or two storey buildings where you can have just one large living room and bathroom (like the Travelodge/Travel Inns in the UK) or have one to three bedrooms. These units usually have kitchen facilities, fridge and oven/microwave. Motels usually offer breakfast at an extra cost, delivered to your room in the morning. For us (1 adult, four children) the cost varied from $115-$160 per unit per night.

    The next day, we drove south to Auckland and arrived at about 9.30am. I confess that I was a bit anxious about driving in the City, but we smoothly took the first turning off after crossing the Harbour Bridge and easily found a car park by Quayside, close to the Sky Tower and the main shopping street in Auckland ? Queen Street. Surprisingly, the roads were quite clear and I did wonder whether there was a public holiday we did not know about ? but everything was open. It did not take long to locate the Sky Tower (!) and we were directed down an escalator before buying tickets for the lift up. There are two types of ticket available ? one for the main viewing deck and one for the sky deck which was nine floors higher. We bought tickets for the top (an extra $3 each), though it did not seem that much higher. Total cost around $50. Pleasant enough attraction, excellent views; did not eat there, so can?t comment on that. It was amusing when a young lad did a ?skyjump? ? they warn everyone that someone is going to jump beforehand - so you can get your camera out - then they hang their victim outside the window for everyone to snap before continuing his journey downwards. Afterwards we walked down Queen Street, had lunch and did a little shopping.

    Before heading further south, we went to Mount Eden which has a volcanic cone which you can drive up and park at the top to take in the view of Auckland and, if you are feeling fit, to walk down the crater. Unfortunately, a rain shower decided to pass over so we took in the view through the rain and decided to give the walk a miss.

    Once we were on the motorway south, the drive to Thames did not take long. Just before Thames we went across NZ?s longest single lane bridge, and there are warnings of delays of up to an hour at busy times. Fortunately, we only waited about 10minutes. Apparently there are plans to have the bridge replaced ? it looks old and feels old to drive on and I would never consider crossing it in bad stormy weather. Thames itself is a very pleasant town (could live there) and after a shop at Pak N Save, we drove north along the coast to our motel. The Coromandel Peninsula is a stretch of land which juts out from the mainland about 150km and has a range of hills/mountains down its spine. It is very scenic and has many small bays and beaches. The road up the west coast is fascinating in that it almost sits on the beaches and rocks and we learned that often the road was closed in stormy weather due to waves lapping the road.

    On Saturday we drove to Mt. Maunganui near Tauranga. On route we drove through Paeroa (another pleasant-looking town) and searched for the famous Paeroa bottle for a photo-opportunity. L&P (Lemon and Paeroa) is described as ?world famous in New Zealand?. Personally, I think it tastes like lemonade with a small dash of cola added.

    Also stopped at a place called Karangahake Gorge where there are several walks of varying lengths. We went on a 4km walk through an old gold mining area which included rope bridges and a kilometre through a rail mining tunnel ? great fun! Fortunately, the tunnel has some lighting but I would advise taking a torch as the bulbs don?t get replaced that often and there are potholes and puddles. (In the photo you can just about see the light at the end of the tunnel.)
    In NZ since June 2005
    Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness - Chinese proverb

  2. #2
    MotherBear's Avatar
    MotherBear is offline The missing link
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    Splendid post, Glenda. Will be very helpful to those whose venture north (or south if they're already up in the north :icon_mrgreen: ). Thanks for taking the time to prepare it all. [smilie=yes.gif]
    Mother Bear

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  3. #3
    driver is offline Member
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    What a great read, and sounds like you had a nice break. Good pictures too.
    Looking forward to doing some of the same, my kids love to go through tunnels and jump over stuff like boulders, and swim in the shallows. You make me very envious.
    Thanks for taking the time to write it all down.


  4. #4
    selchie's Avatar
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    Good stuff! Thanks for the Show-and-Tell.
    If men had wings and bore black feathers, few of them would be clever enough to be crows.
    - Rev. Henry Ward Beecher, mid-1800s

  5. #5
    moggy's Avatar
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    Wow! impressed with that mine!

  6. #6
    Pulsarblu's Avatar
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    Thanks Glenda, it is very good, informative and entertaining. I loved it!!


  7. #7
    Taffy's Avatar
    Taffy is offline He who shall be ignored
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    Default Our Coromandel break

    I think I should give you a regular travel spot, Glenda. Yet another great story!

    The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.

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