Edit Blog Post
Published: March 21st 2009
Colville General Store
The tumbleweed's just blown out of the picture.
So we stay one night in Coromandel and go to the small but well stocked supermarket to survive for the next 5 days or so out in the wild. We then head north, continuing along the progressively windy Pacific highway. The scenery was spectacular - on the left of me was sheer drops down to the rocky sea (sometimes just inches from the road!) and to the right of me was huge rocky slopes, (more often than not the road had been cut into the hillside - road signs warned of landslides frequently) or huge rolling green hills with valleys plunging down to the bays.
After an hour, we reach the last place of civilisation before we get to the very top of the peninsular - called Colville, it has 1 shop, 1 cafe and about 3 houses. Fortunately, the shop has petrol pumps so we stop to refill. The general store was like going back in time and I bet it hasn't changed for decades inside - there was 1940's music playing and old shelves stocked with the basics (though luckily they didn't seem to be out of date). From then on, it was unsealed roads all the way
- meaning single track, gravelled roads with the accoutrement of pot-holes, ridges and cordoned off places where part of the road has fallen into the sea. We journeyed on for an hour and a half wondering when we would ever come to the top of the peninsula when we arrived at Fantail Bay - a small stony bay with stream entering the sea and the customary outcrop of rocks. The other side of the road was a gently sloping grassy area which was the first of the DOC sites. We were both tired from the long drive so parked up and enjoyed a couple of nights there with just a few more tents for company before progressing on to the end of the road and also the tip of the peninsula - Fletcher Bay.
The day we set off from Fantail Bay was rainy, overcast and thoroughly miserable. As soon as we turned on to the road, a couple of cyclists passed us at speed - what a day for it. Then a couple more - then one, and another, then three or four. Yes, it was a bike race - pelting round those tight corners, with us having
Sunset at Fantail Bay
Apparently this photo is too dark to use but you can get the gist...
to pull over every two minutes to let them pass. With the risk of hitting cyclists or driving off the road into the sea, we crawled along at a snails pace and eventually reached Fletcher Bay campsite. Well, if we'd have gone all that way for solitude and to escape the masses - oh dear. There were hundreds of people there - cyclists, marshals, ambulance persons, supporters and all in the rain. Ah - not what we had expected. We found a good spot that wasn't too near the melee, overlooking the sea and waited for the rain to pass, which unfortunately, wasn't until morning.
The next day dawned warm and sunny with a slight breeze and we fully appreciated our fabulous surroundings. We attempted the Coromandel Walkway which is approximately 12 miles over the scenic countryside to the next bay, Stoney Bay but after just less than an hour after starting, we came to part of the path which was a mud bath - you just needed a hose and it would have made a brilliant mudslide - downhill and twisting round corners - bit like the flumes at swimming baths! So we came back and went for
a walk along the beach instead.
After a few more nights, we came back and returned to civilisation - back to Coromandel town to replenish food, gas and petrol. There was also a touristy thing that I wanted to see in Coromandel. Called the Driving Creek Railway and Potteries, it was a privately owned railway that had taken it's owner 27 years to build.... nuttier! There were a few outbuildings - one of which was the ticket office/ shop selling pottery wares, another was a tiny bookshop. The train is dinky and the journey to the highest point on the track takes about half an hour, but you get out and go up a tower to see some fabulous views.To get up the hill, there are loads of reverse points so we had to change seats to face the other way a few times but it was good. Lots of photo's were taken (by me - Paul came along to keep me company more than anything) and then back to find a campsite with internet access - it had been a long time and we had to catch up!
Tot: 2.464s; Tpl: 0.066s; cc: 15; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0464s; 2; m:saturn w:www (188.8.131.52); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb