Published: March 28th 2007March 28th 2007
Since non of my exploits in the last week or so, enjoyable as they were, are especially interesting by themselves, I've found myself pondering generally about my trip and posting accordingly. Maybe it is also related to me not staying in one place more than half a day. I have a strong urge to fly.
Anyway, if only to make use of some of my nicer pictures or even for the slim chance that some of you are actually keeping track, and of course for the sake of protocol, the following list summarize my recent endeavors, since I left thermal land, pictures included at no extra price.
Mt Manganui - Actually a hill, 230m high, located right on the shore of the bay of plenty, a la Mont San Michelle in France. Excellent views of Tauranga city and the whole bay area. Popular spot for local joggers.
The Coromandel peninsula - small bays and sandy coasts, green hills and forested mountains, spent two nice days here, enjoying to be back in the outdoors. Saw some impressive Kauri trees, walked to the curiously shaped cathedral cove and did a great day hike to the Pinnacles peak with two German
girls that happened to be on my shuttle from the Thames, the "big" city around there.
The Domain of Auckland
A really nice park, and I do like parks.
4th city in size, nice lake to eat lunch by.
Very famous caves, big tourist attraction. Basically just caustic caves with a river through them, but the glowworms, little glowing worms that hang from the ceiling, are quite impressive. Unfortunately, no photos allowed, so sorry!
A.k.a. Mt. Egmont, a.k.a. what's-the-hell-is-that?.
The mountain. Perfect conical shaped volcano, located alone on his own peninsula in the west, second highest peak on the island, visible from 70km. Didn't actually stopped there, but that is some mountain.
Closest big city to the Taranaki. Been there only at night, nice decorative lights all around, but appears to be a very nice city. Especially the waterfront, centered around Len Lye "Wind Wand", a 45m long carbon fiber tube sticking up from the boardwalk that ends in a red light globe, meaning unknown. Pity I've missed the open evening of the public observatory by a day.
Right on the mouth of the Whanganui
View of the bay of Plenty
Cook named it, don't ask me.
river (it is spelled differently!), not a very interesting city, been there less than two hours. But it does have an old elevator as a public transport system and I cannot ignore that. Stopped there, walked the 213m tunnel into the hill, rang the bell, walked into the 1919 lift, paid the dollar and went up the hill.
This is an actual village, don't ask me how he got the name. Maybe from being just between the Tongariro and Whanganui National Parks, which is still a stupid reason. Just some hostels and a train station in the middle of a volcanic plane, dedicated for hikers and skiers. But very nice views of my old friends the volcanoes, already topped with some snow. And I got to read my book in front of a burning fireplace in my hostel/ski-resort. Always wanted to do that.
Just went for a short jet ride. Could have been pretty boring, if not for the rain that decided to make a comeback. Turns out it really hurts when you're doing 40km/hr on an open jet.
The Overlander train
The stylish way to return to Auckland, particularly if you're having
The Coromandel Peninsula
buttered scones and tea at 4 o'clock in the afternoon while watching the rain outside the window.
I'm still surprised it's the only intercity train on the north island, and it runs only once a day on its Wellington to Auckland run. Probably related to the cost of a ticket. But the way it went down a very steep hill by spiraling through tunnels and bellow itself was so cool, it's totally worth it. Besides, I do love to travel by train.
There are more photos below