We started out early on our road trip to explore the Coromandel Peninsula, the piece of land between Hauraki Gulf where Auckland sits and Bay of Plenty where we are now based. We got through the morning rush hour in Tauranga and through the suburbs, crossing the base of the peninsula through the beautiful Karangahake Gorge. We headed up to Thames (named so by Captain James Cook in 1769 because it was the first large river he had seen in the country, the river Waihou) and then inland to almost the middle of the large Coromandel Forest Park.
We met a group of teenagers on the bridge, they kindly stopped to let us over, then engaged us in conversation, asking where we were from and how we like NZ. They had spent a day and night hiking and camping in the Forest and were very friendly and outgoing. They told us of a waterfall we could see just off the trail a few hundred meters past the bridge.
The history of the area is (as usual) tragic after Europeans arrived. The mighty Kauri forests that were here for millennia were logged off in less than 100 years.
History of the Kauri Forest of the Coromandel can be found HERE.
We left the Forest and headed to the Beach, the west coast of the Coromandel peninsula, through Thames and north to the town of Coromandel.
We joined the 2 dozen or so other travelers on the train and headed up the steep slopes of the property. Brickell utilized ‘reversing track’ to facilitate the climb, switchbacks basically, so the driver pulls into the reverse track, moves to the other end of the train, switches the track and drives up the next section.
He reminded me of Don Kerr of The High Desert Museum, he even looks a little like him, driven and focused on their passion in life. Both have left impressive legacies!
We enjoyed our train ride, the fabulous views from the ‘Eye-Full Tower’, walked around the wildlife sanctuary and continued to our B&B outside Colville. We had a wonderful evening, grilled some lamb chops and vegetables and toasted to the wonderful sunset view!