<< Prev | Next >>
We left our rather tropical looking campsite and rolled downhill for 3km, I was grateful for the gentle start as I was bricking it about the 3 peaks in a row that awaited us before Coromandel Town. But, we did it! Awesome views and there were no moments of 'I can't do it, I'm going to have to walk'. I gained a lot of confidence. Hills - bring it on (well, if they're under 206m!). I was on a real high after the ascents and we rolled in to Coromandel Town for an early, greasy, happy, veggie burger lunch.
After food and a bit of internet-age, we raced to the Driving Creek Railway to catch the 2:00pm departure! The railway was great fun and relaxing too (not least because we were being transported up a moutainside under something else's steam). The guy who built the railway acquired 60 acres of bushland 27 years ago and has since built a narrow gauge railway (featuring spirals, a double-decker viaduct, tunnels and reversing points!) on the moutain side. It took him 27 years to complete and alongside he set up a pottery and planted 17000 native trees (including 8000 kauri). A bit of a nutter clearly but his story is heart warming.
Back on the bikes and 8km to Papa Aroha, or so we thought... as usual the 8km turned out to be more like 12km and featured 2 sizeable bumps, one of which was unsealed (my demon). According to the owners of the fantastic and friendly Papa Aroha campsite 'that wasn't a hill'!
We had our first paddle in the sea at the campsite in an effort to soothe our tired leg muscles. Apparently dolphins and orcas had both been seen off the coast here very recently and penguins come up to the beach at night times quite regularly.
We must have looked a bit the worse for wear as we were offered both freshly caught snapper and mussels within a few minutes of arriving (admittedly I was eating a bag of 'Value' peanuts and raisins when the mussel sack was dragged past! We kindly accepted 8 green-lipped Coromandel mussels so of course had to buy a bottle of white to go with them! Following the cooking instructions we were given we steamed the mussels in a little water and white wine and they were the best mussles either of us had eaten! We ate our usual slop for main course on the beach front and chatted again to the owner, Pete, and some Kiwis currently living in Singapore who said we had already cycled the best road in New Zealand. We'll carry on anyway just in case they're wrong...
<< Prev | Next >>