The CoromandelHi all Tim here. So after a pit stop in Auckland to do a little work on the van, nothing to major just needed a little love, we headed down south of Auckland to the Coromandel. This area is a large spit of land that it a national park and has its own mountain range in the middle and we planned to travel all the way up the West coast and back down the East. For our fist few nights we stayed near to the town of Thames in the Coromandel Forest Park, the DOC site was in the middle of the mountains and by an amazing river that I got to fish and even managed to catch a few wild rainbow trout in. There were great walks around this area and most were based around old gold mining towns that were in the area in the 1900, to this day there are still lots of the remains of the mining towns and lots of mine shafts and tunnels that you have to look out for. From here we headed up the cost the town of Coromandel which we both really enjoyed, the weather was great and the town was very pretty, in its time this now small town had more people in than Auckland and this was all down to the Gold that was found in the area and hence there were some really old and beautiful houses in the town. Anna and I had a good look around and enjoyed a nice lunch in the park before heading up the West coast again to stay a two DOC sites that were based at the far North tip of the Coromandel. The West coast road was all unsealed and hugged the coast all the way to the end, the sea was a really dark deep blue and there were no beaches just big rocks and windswept trees. The two camps that were both amazing, the first was in a place called Fantail bay. It was a very small camp but had all we needed and was right on the cost, it had lots of old trees for shade and a small rocky beach with big shore dump waves crashing onto it. We only stayed for the night and it was more of a stopover for getting to the final camp in the north. The next day we set off again on the cost gravel road and after a few steep hills and more amazing views we got to the camp at Fletcher Bay. The first thing that we did was to chose a nice site to stay on the well maintained grass site, and straight way I got the van stuck in the mud, luckily there were some men from Eastern Europe that now all lived in NZ who were also at the camp and had a 4x4 that they used to tow us out, and once out we found a better spot on higher ground. We strayed for 2 nights at Fletcher Bay enjoying the great views all around us and the walks as well; I even managed to catch a good size Karwai with my fly rod which we both enjoyed for dinner. On our second day we set off on a great coastal walk to Poly bay, the path snaked along the coast going up and down up and down and took us through all sorts of vegetation, from hill top trees to low valley ferns. We were treated with great views out to sea and in total it took us 4 and a half hour to finish, by with time a good cup of tea was needed. The following and final day we set off back down the coast to Coromandel where we could get on the road that would take us back down the East coast of the Coromandel, where we could see Cathedral cove and Hot water beach. We knew that there were going to be no DOC camp sites in the area so we set out to find a powered camp that was near to Cathedral cove and Hot water beach but not to near that the price was going to be really high. Whenever you have a tourist place like Cathedral cove and Hot water beach you can always expect to pay about $10 more to camp just because of the area. We stuck cold with our site about 10k from Cathedral cove and Hot water beach, it was called River Glen and was set in the middle of the Coromandel Forest Park, surrounded by pine trees and was right on a lovely river. We were the only campers with a van there but there were a few long time stay people around, there was loads of room and the owners were real salt of the earth people, but the best thing about this camp was the showers. Next to our van was a green tin hunt with a very basic shower in and also in the green hut was a wet back stove that was lit all the time to heat the shower, the water was so hot and the burning logs made a great pine smell that you got was you had your shower, I will never forget that campsite it was one of the best. We spent 2 nights in total there as we explored Hot Water beach and Cathedral Cove. Hot water beach was a bit of a letdown because the tide was too high and Cathedral cove was nice but the weather was s***. We had a great walk to Cathedral cove but it was very busy with people doing what we were doing. The cove its self had white sand and limestone cliffs and the massing hole in the rock that they call the Cathedral, it was worth going to look at that it did not blow me away, maybe it was the weather. We headed south the next day and aimed for a Doc site that we stayed at the first night we got to the Coromandel, near Thames. We got to the camp in good time and on the way we even explored Whangamate on the cost, nothing to exiting about this place, very much a summer town, nice coffee thou. We enjoyed some more interesting gold mine walks around the DOC site and there was one that even took us down 3 tunnels that were used to channel water away from the mines, we did get a little wet due to the rain but this did not put us off. The following morning we were due to meet Toby and Jo for a long bank holiday weekend camping in the vans. We had to meet them a little further south again down in place called Karangahake, we were both very excited about seeing them again. I planed to fish with Toby in the neat by river and Anna was going to do some walks with Jo, but the big question was, is the weather going to be ok, it was looking like rain, rain, rain.