Blog Monday 2/11
We were up early today as we had a long drive to do - from Trounson Forest to the Coromandel Peninsula - about 340km. After an early breakfast we were on the road by 9am and in Dargaville shortly after.
Our intention was to stop at the Library for its free WiFi and then move on. There was WiFi but it was slow and erratic and after a frustrating hour or so being only partially able to do what we wanted to do we gave up, feeling decidedly grumpy! The day was saved by a cafe called 'Blah Blah Blah' that served great Laffare coffee, gorgeous cakes and had good WiFi!
Refreshed we drove on, passing a curious sight - a tree clothed in a knitted cover that included a seagull perched in its branches, leaves and flowers twining up its trunk and a small knitted kiwi at its base...
We drive on, south down State Highway 1, west to Waimea and on through Auckland.
Friends and guide books recommended the Auckland district of Parnell and so, having failed to go there on foot last weekend, we decided to take a detour to visit, maybe to shop or to find a bijou cafe for lunch / tea. Hmmm... Quite attractive buildings, many clothes boutiques but all the cafes seem to be closed for the day. We drove on over the Haruki plain and east to Thames at the south-east corner of Coromandel.
We had visions of sea-front promenades and bars but we were disappointed. Once again the bars and diners all appeared closed. Even the iSite had closed down and re-located!
Pac'n'save was open, as was a local greengrocer. We re-provisioned and headed east along the Kauaeranga Valley to the Shag Stream camp site, in preparation for our hike to The Pinnacles tomorrow.
The visitor centre was also closed but had numerous maps and posters displayed outside that answered most of our queries. The DOC campsite at 'Shag Stream' was little more than a field by the river with a single long-drop toilet, but it was all we needed. There was a beautiful glow in the sky suggesting a spectacular sunset down at sea level, and we walked a short way around the visitor centre and to view a re-constructed log dam until dark. A burst of tuneful song erupted above us and a Tui appeared a few feet above our heads. We viewed the logging dam and learnt a bit about how the valley had been completely cleared of kauris by loggers back in the 18th century. Although a natural disaster in many senses it was an amazing feat of engineering. Dusk fell as we wandered back among the trees.
Then we turned in for a fine fish supper of pan-fried gurnard and tarakihi and an early night.