We started the day with a nice leisurely breakfast on our sunny balcony. We jumped in car and headed for the 309 dirt road which crosses the hilly spine that runs down the centre of the peninsular. It is hilly and twisty but very quiet (no monstrous logging trucks as encountered on many mountain roads). Half way along there is a short walk to a magnificent grove of Kauri trees. Nearby there is an interesting ‘Siamese’ Kauri where two trees have fused into one. The whole area is incredibly luxuriant in greenery. There is one especially impressive peak called ‘Castle Rock’ which is climbable, but I couldn’t persuade Jen and didn’t fancy doing it alone. We reached the smaller than anticipated but quaint old gold town of Coromandel. After ambling the streets and an obligatory coffee we headed back along the longer (but tarmacced) state highway 25 which winds through picturesque scenery giving lovely views to the sea. We stopped for a stroll along a deserted beach on a lovely bay. Back at the hostel our rest break was interrupted by the hostel owner telling us that there were dolphins in the bay in front of the hostel. There was
a pod of about 6 or 7 which were fairly distant but could easily be seen. At one point two jumped really high clear of the water. We hoped they might continue into the harbour but as a boat approached they headed back out to sea. We strolled into town via the beach which was fairly busy (by New Zealand standards) with others strolling in the late afternoon sun and fishing from the surf edge. We discovered that most shops had shut at lunchtime so we just perused the gifts in the tourist office. In the evening a family of three moved into the spare room in our little apartment - so it felt less snug.