NEW ZEALAND, North Island, Coromandel Peninsular,
15-17 Feb 2013

Northlands including Matakohe,Coromandel Peninsular & Hot Water Beach

New Zealand, Northlands 15-17 feb 2013 matakohe, coromandel , hot water beach, covering amongst others 113 selective slideshow images, matakohe, coromandel peninsular, apihara, bamboo, 90 mile beach, dargaville river, Dargaville town, arapohue, matakohe, banana bread, our new step, arapaoa river, citrus fruits, twin bridge gorge, dargaville revisit, coromandel range mountains, tree ferns, the kauri pioneer museum , lake Omapere, Kaikohe, twin bridge gorge, post offices, pioneer church, log haulers, helensville, art work, brynderwyn, thames,  kawau parau inlet, muriwai and muriwai beach, black sand, coromandel town, tricky roads, views to die for, matarangi, whitianga, mercury bay, sunsets, bruises from steps, Shipwreck Bay, Kaitaia, revisiting Greenlane & Remuera in Auckland, Sir Edmund Hillary. We were previously in this area in 2007 and then again in 2017.

 
fab views in the coromandel.jpg
slow start to 90 mile beach ahipara
slow start to 90 mile beach ahipara
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whitianga beach
whitianga beach
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Friday February 15th 2013

Summary Ahipara to Matakohe

Left the Kiwi Park campsite at Ahipara and went down a side street and parked and walked down to 90 Mile beach. There were vehicles using beach as a road, 4-wheel drive only allowed allegedly. There was big surf today as very breezy, however today there was no one surfing, kite or cart wise.

We took photos of shipwreck bay and the sweeping 90-mile beach and then returned to Kaitaia and south on State Highway 1. Lots of mainly cattle farms and then dense scrub lands and tree ferns everywhere zig zagging up and down the mountain sides. It felt very “New Zealand”. The roads were very wiggly.

All this area in the far north and I guess a lot of Northlands are very Māori inhabited including Ahipara and Kaitaia. We passed lake Omapere and then turned right to Kaikohe where we re-fueled $70 or £35 for ¾ of a tank of diesel which was somewhat cheaper than the UK at the time.

Again, Kaikohe is mainly a Māori town with one road of shops running right through it. We then took the inland road to Dargaville near the west coast, a town we know well having 1st camped near there with the boys back in 2007-8 on our gap year.

We stopped for lunch at twin bridge gorge. The weather was cloudy and much cooler than yesterday. Again, some very nice rural countryside heavily enhanced with the tree ferns which we love, do so wish we could get them back and growing in the UK (cheaply) but guess we don’t have the right climate for that.

Arrived Dargaville around 4 p.m. and Keef posted a postcard to his Mum. Anne looked in a craft shop. Decided to move onto Matakohe to stay at the Kiwi Park campsite there, especially now we are fully paid-up club members, as we are with Top 10 sites, it widened our overnight stay options quite nicely as they are the major camping chains in NZ.

 The site was just down the road from the kauri pioneer museum which we had already visited with Craig & Doug in 2007.  A very nice campsite with views of the Arapaoa river and surrounding farmlands.

Annie did some ironing and chatted to an Aussie woman in the laundry. Keef did lamb steaks (just so good in NZ), and kumara chips on the barbeque again, becoming quite a staple meal for us, lovely cheap and fresh local produce, you can’t beat it!

There were a few spots of rain this afternoon (arvo) but nothing much. NOTE This was the first meal we have eaten in the van since we arrived in NZ, rain, eh?

Brian and Gina have returned to the UK from their holiday in Borneo / Malaysia.

Saturday February 16th 2013

Summary Matakohe to Coromandel Town

We travelled south on State Highway 1 (the kiwi’s main lifeline one feels!) then onto highway 16. We visited Muriwai beach, a black volcanic sand beach, sadly not very attractive but different.

Summary is Muriwai, also called Muriwai Beach, is a coastal community on the west coast of the Auckland Region in the North Island of New Zealand. The black-sand surf beach and surrounding area is a popular recreational area for Aucklanders. The Muriwai Regional Park includes a nesting site for a large colony of gannets. The New Zealand Ministry for Culture and Heritage gives a translation of "water's end" for Muriwai

It was cloudy at first again today and then cleared and turned very warm. All the grasslands and farms we passed looked very dry. Not much livestock either. We joined highway 1 again and stopped off at the Green Lane exit for Remuera, we stayed at the motel here on our last trip in 2007-8. The gay couple who owned it, lovely people, had sadly now moved on and it certainly looked a bit different. Such lovely memories and a nice suburb to Auckland, Sir Edmund Hillary came from Auckland and died in Remuera.

We then continued south and across to the Coromandel peninsular. We purchased diesel at Thame cost 80p a litre or in kiwi money 60 cents. Keef chatted to a Pom from Leicester who worked in the garage.

We then drove along the scenic road north with the bay on our left, all hair pin bends and very windy roads, then we climbed the Coromandel range, which was very steep, but lovely views in the afternoon sun.

Arrived at the Top 10 campsite in Coromandel town , cost $45 per night with $4 dollars discount as members so not too bad but on the higher price side compared to other sites. This is where we had previously camped in a tent back in 2008 under the large tree there. We had a swim in the campsite pool which refreshingly was now heated.

We had had a long drive today with some tricky roads on the peninsular where you really needed to concentrate, kiwis with boats towed certainly drive fast with no particular concern for what is coming in the opposite direction, just an observation folks’ tee hee.

We showered and then had a chat to an old couple in an old-fashioned motorhome parked next to ours. She was 88 and he was 84 and they still loved travelling in their van, do hope we are the same assuming we get to that age. The campsite was full as a weekend with Aucklanders who have got away for the weekend.

Coromandel was where the first gold was discovered in New Zealand.

Sunday February 17th 2013

Summary Coromandel to Hot Water Beach, Joy’s birthday today

Chatted to a couple from Welwyn Garden city who were camped at the Coromandel campsite. Small world as this is where Annie lived as a child for 10 years.

We then had a walk through the town which on reflection we didn’t think had changed much in the intervening period. We then drove out of town on Highway 25 and turned off at Matarangi, a beautiful sandy beach which we walked along, with some very expensive holiday homes and golf resort. Hot and sunny but sea breezes. Then we went on to Whitianga and Mercury Bay where we had lunch and swam in the sea. It was a gently shelving sandy beach and therefore ideal for swimming and a much needed cool off.

We bought boysenberry ice creams and walked through the towns and saw the shops although it was quite a small town really.

Then we drove along highway 25 again onto Hot Water Beach and the Top 10 site there. It cost $41.40 to camp there. The site was very dry and dusty with the grass almost gone due to lack of rain, a true drought in NZ currently. There were water restrictions on the Coromandel in place.

We had dinner and then drove the van to a car park near Hot Water Beach. We had been loaned two spades for digging from the Top 10 campsite for $20 deposit. We only needed them for that night’s sunset. We walked along the beach to where lots of people were digging in the wet sand at low tide at about 6.45 p.m.

There are hot springs under the sand at about 2 kilometers deep and if you dig down to about 9 inches to a foot the hot water comes up, quite an experience. Steam was coming out of many people’s sand holes and they were sitting in them like baths. There were even some Japanese and Brazilian tourists as well as weekend Aucklanders and us Brits. It was great fun. The water was quite hot, but Keef loved doing some digging to create our own little bath. Deep Joy! We took loads and loads of photos.

We then walked back along the beach and returned in the van to the campsite at 8.10 p.m. The sun had set. We had showers to get rid of the sand and retired to bed happy but exhausted. It had all been good fun.