|Coromandel||Driving Creek Railway||Gold Stamper Battery||Walking||Mussel Kitchen|
|Cathedral Cove||Hot Water Beaches||The Waterworks||Waterfalls||Bakery|
A small journey from 28 to 31/3/2011 but full with very nice experiences.
Coromandel is another beautiful region in New Zealand. You can reach Coromandel by ferry or by car. As we love sightseeing and love the adventure we drove by car. We already told you that you need to be adventurious in New Zealand. When you drive towards Coromandel you will cross narrow roads with steep abysses. Driving on the left side makes that you drive on the edge of the abyss. Kicking time for the co-driver cause you are getting that awesome sight below you, as if no road was there any more and you are hanging just in the air. Get that feeling? But do not let this keep you away to go to Coromandel. It is one of the places you need to visit when you are in New Zealand.
Anyhow, we arrived there without any problem and had some nice views on the way. We made several stops to enjoy the view.
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We had the chance to see an empty town center. And...no, no, no, this is not Cooper's Crossing from The Flying Doctors. It does seem alike! Very much! But it isn't.
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At Coromandel we reserved our stay at the Green House B&B. Our hosts were Denise and Malcolm. We have been to other B&B's for our small trips in the past and everybody has his typical way to make you feel at home. Denise and Malcolm welcomed us as if we were family. We felt immediately at home. Our bedroom was beside the kitchen. A very nice room with a separate bathroom. On the first floor there were 2 more rooms, a relax room with TV/Wifi connection and a bar/kitchen.
At dawn we were waken by the nice smell of fresh baked bread. And what a breakfast we were served. Everything you wished for was available. We stayed with them for 4 days (3 nights) and what a luck we did.
On the night of 28 on 29/1/2011 typhoon Wilma came over with big, big, big showers. In the morning we heard that there were a lot of majour landslides that blocked the roads in Thames, the 309 and the 25. In other words, you couldn't get in or out the town.
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On the 29th we normally had a reservation for the Driving Creek Railway. But also here a major landslide was the reason the train couldn't do his full route. To bad, that was thus an experience we had to skip. Going half way and not experiencing the great view was not our goal. We just went looking and took a few pictures.
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As an alternatif we went visiting the Gold Stamper Battery, an old gold mine. The guy who is keeping the battery working, Ashley Franklyn, is PHD in archeology and he is a geologist. And as Malcolm told us, once Ashley starts talking there is no stopping to it. He is so passionate about archeology and geology.
It was very interesting to learn about the different ways to exploit gold and the different processes.
First of all the gold comes along with other minerals. It then depends if the want to exploit cyane or arsenicum. Cause with this last one they can regain a lot of lost gold. Thirty years ago the New Zealanders informed the U.S. about this, but this information wasn't taken in account. At that time the Americans were not interested in that kind of information. Later on the U.S. started to search for ways to recover lost gold, while the answer and solution was already given thirty years ago.
Also interesting to learn was that the vulcano under the Taupo Lake is a sleeping vulcano, and waiting to come into action. We already knew that the Taupo lake is a crater, but now we learned that at a depth of one kilometer (1000m) the water regularly bubbles. The bubbling indicates that there is activity and that it is just a matter of time for the eruption to come.
We were also teached were to look for when you find a piece of rock. 1000 USD can be easily earned when there is some gold in this piece of rock. Now don't you start hacking on rocks! That is not the way. Just keep it adventurous and just search on the beach, in the forest, woods, etc.....
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Our next thing to do was following the Walk Track in Long Bay. It brings you to Tuck Bay. Walking this track you discover huge Kauri Trees.
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Lunch time! A good place to take lunch and to taste the well known New Zealand Green shell mussels in Coromandel is at the Mussel Kitchen. You can taste them prepared in different ways. We choose the have them served in 4 different ways. Delicious. Coromandel is the place!
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Cathedral Cove is one of the other touristique places to see. You need to drive to the other side of the Coromandel Peninsula. On the way you can enjoy the beautiful views. You will haveto pass some landslides as well. Your halt for the Cathedral Cove is at a kind of plateau. You have a astonishing view on the sea. And if you look carefully the view will look familiar. Indeed, cause here a part of Narnia - The Caspian Prince has been filmed. The picture and the photo album shows without any doubt the beauty of this place.
Unfortunately, due to the overnight bad weather (typhoon Wilma) also here some landslides took place and the track down to the Cathedral Cove was closed.
The Cathedral Cove is a cave on the beach. We would have loved to walk into the steps of the Caspian Prince, but we had to do it with some pictures. There was always a possibility to hire a boat or book a boat trip which could bring you onto the beach. But therefore we had to drive back and we didn't want do that. There was more planned for that day. From the picture you will see how the cave was blocked by the collapse.
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From Cathedral Cove it isn't that long to get to the next remarkable place 'The Hot Water Beaches'. You can park your car for free, behind by the beach on a lown, that functions as a car park. Don't forget to take our spade with you!!!!!!!
Free parking, free rest room, free showers. We are still amazed that this is possible overhere. You only have to pay for car parks in the big cities. But outside that area it is all free. What a difference with Europe, where even in the smallest places you have to pay for a parking place. In Europe every free place is a place to pay for. New Zealand is really liberating your mind, your soul, your body, with these small things. Here everybody enjoys to give the people the opportunity to enjoy the country without chasing them away with payments for everything, as we European now. Live and let live is a real slogan in New Zealand and it works!!!!!!!
To get onto the Hot Water Beach itself you have to cross a small stream/river that ends out into the sea. When the tide is low, you can choose a crossing that suites you the best. As you cannot see the bottom, you have to walk carefully and feel with your feet. Beware of the rocks in the water. The best thing is to have all your belongings in a back pack so that your hands are free to keep your balance whenever needed!!!! And believe me, you need balance. You don't want to fall and have everything wet. Now, don't be scared cause it is only a small stream to cross. And if you are already thinking how to get back, even if it is high tide, no worries. At high tide a life guard is standing in the middle of the stream to help you crossing the stream and to guide you where to cross over. Hey, you have to have a bit adventure in your vains! Everybody does it, young and old!
Now you are on the Hot Water Beach. But where to dig for your own hot water spa? Well, if you look good, you will notice a spot where a lot of people are sitting very close to eachother, and a lot are working with their spade. That is the place!
Although the sea is only a few steps further, you only will get your hot water spa at certain moments.
Two hours before and two hours after the the low tide your spa will have hot water. This phenomenon takes place due to the volcanic activities under the ground, thus under your feet!!!!!
We didn't have the luck to create our own private hot water pool. We digged, digged and digged, but no hot water. The guy next to us had the same problem. As people in New Zealand do connect easily we had a chat and laughted about the fact that we digged to get just the sea in our pool, the sea that was a few meters further. If we had know about the right moments before, maybe would have come earlier or later to the beach.
Because the hot water pool was no success, I went for a swim, while my wife Karin found herself a comfortable place on the sand. Staying at the west coast at Bethells Beach cottages I ofter went swimming in the Tasmanian sea, facing the strong waves. Now I could experience the sea and waves of the opposite sea, the Pacific Ocean. Here you can indeed go a bit deeper, still you have to be careful and be aware of the strength of the waves. I could easily jump up with the waves and get myself on top of it. But a few times I was just like a ball that was as a toy for those waves. I got thrown under water, rolled over and sometimes lost orientation. I then just waited until the strength of wave went off and I got ground under my feets. So, if your are not an experienced swimmer, do not go to far into the sea. Go to knee depth or max to your waste depth. Even then the waves are bigger then you and you will have to put up a fight. But you have to have it done once, don't you think so? Well, I love the sea. And it is just awesome. Oh yes, at that side the sand is white. The west coast on the contrary has black sand.
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This is a place you must see when you are at Coromandel. If you want to see how recycling and respecting the environment, you surely will be amazed what they achieved here. It puts you to thinking - how to create and use things at home.
You can reach The Waterworks two ways. Because of the landslides we had to make a detour. Otherwise you can go via a small road at the Mussel Kitchen. Or if you are on a sightseeing tour you can take the 309. We took the 309 and had quite some adventures on the way. We saw a lot of landslides. You can see them also in the separate landslide photo album. Attention!! The 309 is for 90% gravel. Just so you know it! Although the 309 is a cut-off and should give you a shortner way and less kilometers, we drove longer then expected. This was mainly due to the fact that only one-way road was free. Landslides blocked a lot of roads. And as we were not familiar with the roads in Coromandel we sometimes had to drive very, very, very slow.
Just before you arrive at the Waterworks, which is at the end of the 309, you make a visit at the Waiau waterfalls.Waterfalls are always spectacular. Don't expect a long walk. The board tells you about a one hour walk but it only takes you five minutes to reach it. You normally can swim in it, but we couldn't find the correct spot to go into the water. Would have been a nice refreshment as it was hot that day. But no worries, The Waterworks were waiting for us. Water............works! Got it! Lol!
Everything at The Waterworks has to do or has been created with water and recycling. You can't imagine it. You really need to see it. Some creations also provide energy, all driven by water. And it starts even at the entrance of The Waterworks.
A wheel on which the water spokes are made from all kinds of kitchen stuff that can take water. And while the wheel is turning a bicycle racer does his racing. That figure is also made from different metal left overs. Look at the picture.
The Waterworks is really a place you need to have seen. It is amazing to see what can be created by using water. Have a piano playing simply through some water flow. And most of it all is interactif. So you can play with it, go back to your childhood and learn about today, what we can achieve and how we can protect our planet at the same time.
And speaking of childhood, there are some water canons. So, yes, we played water-war! Splash! Splash! And at some interactions be aware, cause you will get surprised and get wet!!
There is also a great wonder of nature to admire. There is a gigantic Kiwi plant. The picture shows you it. You can walk under the Kiwi roof, cause a roof it is, a natural fruit roof. And Kiwis! WoW! I never saw such a Kiwi beauty. It gave us a good idea how to built a sort like frame work at home, to have our own Kiwi plant become the same, hopefully!
The Waterworks is a park for young and old. Don't miss it.
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Before we left Coromandel we went to the local bakery. The nice smell invites you to enter the bakery and discover a variety of tasty things. Yummie!! But what to choose? You cannot take everything. The bakery has a variety of small breads, croissants, cakes, cookies, and all the same all over again with some savoury fillings.Hmmmm! Well, I surely didn't forget to take a lot, a lot, a lot of ginger bread with me. They were nice copies of The Ginger Man (Shrek). It was hard not to start eating immediately. So, we made it until we drove away for about......45 minutes? 30? Lol!