The Coromandels is a beautiful peninsula that juts out into the Pacific. It is renowned for its beautiful landscapes of native bush and wonderful beaches. Unfortunately even on sunny days the surf was too high to swim but we did go on some great hikes. Cathedral Cove is a lovely hike though native bush down to an amazing natural limestone formation. It was also a beautiful beach with lots of neat rocks weathered by the ocean.
Another hike we went on was to Wentworth Falls. It was yet another lovely bush walk around 5-6 miles roundtrip. The waterfall was really magnificent jutting over the cliff and cascading hundreds of feet to a large pool below.
The Coromandels are beautiful but the roads are very steep, narrow and windy, but as usual, Chuck did an amazing job of getting us all around despite washouts and one way bridges! He even managed to get us 30 kms down a very narrow dirt road to see a small Kauri grove. Kauri trees once completely covered NZ but they are such a huge tree with such a straight trunk that they are considered one of the best trees for lumber worldwide! When you see these massive giants they are so majestic it is hard to imagine someone cutting them down. They can live to be 4000 years old but though they were once very plentiful all over the North & South Island now they are so rare that even a small grove is considered quite a landmark! As we head further north to Northland we are looking forward to seeing some of the oldest ones still left in NZ.
Our last sight on the Coromandels was the Driving Creek Railway. This is an amazing small gauge railway that was built by this eccentric potter just north of Coromandel town. It was truly an amazing engineering feat and has now become a major tourist attraction. The track goes up a mountain to a lookout point called the Eyefull Tour!! There are some beautiful views along the way, which we enjoyed despite the rain! It was really a tribute to the perseverance and tenacity of this amazing man who made enough money in his pottery studio to finance his real love, building railroads!!