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sept 27, 2000
Mercury Bay Beaches... (more)

sept 25, 2000
Coromandel beaches at Kuaotunu... (more)

sept 21, 2000
UNITEC farewell... (more)

sept 20, 2000
Critters at the Auckland Zoo... (more)

sept 18, 2000
Visit to Auckland University of Technology... (more)

sept 17, 2000
Orewa and northland beaches (more)

sept 15, 2000
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september 28, 2000
My plans shifted today, in a good way, so I could sweep in one more scenic spot on the Coromandel. My host for the past week in Whitianga had an errand on the western side of the peninsula, in Coromandel Town, so David gave me a ride over there to see if I could adjust my plans and still get to Rotorua on Friday.

The road from Whitianga winds and weavers through more lush agriculture areas before climbing a bit among the forested hills. photo here The road was under some fairly heavy construction and is in the process of being paved (it had been 11 km of gravel before). Eventually, we emerged and coasted down a steep section that afforded some good views of Coromandel Town. From this vantage point you can see many of the islands that extend out from the Auckland area.

All of the plans for my trip adjustment worked out, so I could catch and early bus and make my connection to the planned route. The nice lady in the visitor's center provided exceptional help. photo here I rented a room at the "Tui Lodge", a backpackers place. For those that have not heard this term, it is a hybrid of a low end hotel and a youth hostel. Most are clean and have all of the amenities you might need.

today's photos
- all photos   o o o o

o o Coromandel Town

Tuck the owner, was very helpful and offered to drive me in the morning to the bus stop

photo hereHaving settled in, I packed my camera and headed into town to have a look around. Most of the action is on Kapanga Street and Wharf Road, a stretch with gift/art shops, at least 3 salons, several convenience stores, three cafes, and a handful of restaurants, real estate agents, etc.

I enjoyed a luscious lunch at the Success Cafe, my bet for the best in town (except when you want early coffee- they do not open until 10:00 AM). There are a fair number of kids and teens around- this is part of the 2 week school holiday period.

After lunch, I headed farther out Kapanga Street, going past more of the residential areas (sprinkled with the occaisional church and pub). photo here I also spotted a neatly built Masonic Lodge, and since my Dad was a mason (and once was even "Grand Pooh-Bah"), I grabbed a photo of the Coromandel Mason's Lodge Hall just for him.

My destination was the tourist attraction known as the Driving Creek Railway or "DCR" as it is stamped on many places. This is the dream construction of a Brit who moved here in the 1960s, fell in love with the terrain, and decided to set up a facility for pottery making, taking advantage of the clays on the hills above.

photo here To bring the materials down, he constructed a narrow gauge (15 inch) railway line. With some time, he realized how much of the Native bush, especially the Kauri trees were lacking after so much clearing of lands for farms, then timbering, then mis-managed forest fires. So the railway has been extended beyond the clay pits and climbs several hundred meters up the ridge line toting tourists through place where he is bringing the native bush back.

photo here The trains amble up the hill, with some switching to backwards direction to spiral up the steeper parts. Throughout the ride, we are peppered with narration and one sees all kinds of whimsical pottery scattered along the route, as well as cut walls supported by hundreds of empty wine bottles. Near the top, we get the full view and the full story.

This is a place worth seeing if you ever get to these parts.

In the evening I enjoy a nice dinner at the Pepper Tree restaurant, where I was granted a nice table in front of the fireplace. But even better than that was the giant bowl of local mussels, huge, monstrously large, delicious steamed mussels.

Next up is the bus trip to Rotorua...




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