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Day 7- Coromandel Peninsula

October 23, 2012

Well – after quite a stormy night with incessant rain and blustery winds which made the camper-van move around a little we woke to calm and dry weather. Our journey today was to take us around Papakura, Thames and the Coromandel Peninsula. Our journey was interesting for at times we were literally travelling along the shoreline of the Firth of Thames then we were climbing up winding and steep mountain passes. The views were once again spectacular as we journeyed along. One of the things we have noticed in this beautiful country is the amount of different flora which grows in abundance in the wild. In particular these wild lily’s which in the UK are expensive to buy. These grow on the road side amongst other wonderful flowers and bushes. There are massive forests in NZ and it is interesting to note how they approach the cutting down then replanting of new trees, it is a never ending process which the Government give a high priority too. Our first watering hole was the town of Coromandel. It is described in the guides as a quiet fishing and crafts town. Apparently it owes it’s name to the visit in 1820 of HMS Coromandel which called to load Kauri spars (wood logs) for the British Royal Navy. The town has lots of heritage buildings as well as a number of cafes and bars offering a good option of food to eat. However, our Lonely Planet guide book states that you can’t leave the town without trying the range of different smoked fish and seafood, so it would be rather rude not to do so. We chose a place called Umu’s which rather took our eye and decided that the best way to sample a number of different fish and seafood would be to have the fish platter. In our haste to start the eating experience, we had got stuck in to the platter which also included fish chowder, smoked salmon, salmon pate, really big mussels done in various different ways before I realised that I should take a picture of it. So here it is with an empty chowder bowl etc.  It was rather delicious, even the oysters, though I don’t get the idea of swallowing them whole without chewing. For me there is something in the eating experience that is lost. All of this was washed down with a really nice dark and malty NZ brewed ale (Speights) for me and a Pinot Noir for Brenda.

After a short walk around the town we jumped into the camper-van and continued our journey around the peninsula. Our initial plan was to stop off at Hot Water Beach and dig our own personal spa pool in the sand. Sadly the weather had set in again and we decided to give that experience a miss, though we knew there would be other opportunities as we travel through NZ.

Our resting place for the night was to be a pleasant site in the small town of Tairu which is on the side of a river estuary. It is described as a functioning residential town, which means it has shops, ATMs and a choice of places to eat, sounds a bit like home but without the access to sand and sea!!! We enjoyed our walk around the edge of the estuary which had some amazing properties looking over it. After another beer at the local just round the corner from the site we settled down to eat then plan the journey for tomorrow (Tuesday) that would take us eventually to Roturua.

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