Over the last few days we've continued to enjoy the most wonderful weather - the locals are thrilled that their summer has arrived at last after weeks of really dry, windy weather which is evident in the yellow fields & Severe Fire warnings posted everywhere. They obviously need some wet weather, which is fine as long as it only rains in the night! On our journey South we took a fairly circuitous route so that we could enjoy the beautiful scenery as we went. We had a very pleasant drive to Whangerei Heads, taking in Mcleod Bay, Taurikura & McKenzie Bay along the way. We started to get rather peckish so eventually stopped at a roadside cafe in Parua Bay run by a lovely German couple who served us a delicious brunch of poached eggs, bacon & toast. As we reached Warkworth the traffic came to a complete standstill - everyone was out enjoying the long weekend holiday to celebrate Auckland's 150th Anniversary! We looked for our B&B without success until a kindly Kiwi looked it up on his phone & sent us back the way we'd come! Well, what a lovely little place! Annie runs an antique business alongside the Homestay & obviously loves all things retro. Our self contained accommodation was really comfy, with lots of pretty touches which made it very homely. We sat out on our own terrace, enjoying the peaceful garden which surrounded us & planned our route to Thames for the following day. Breakfast was delivered at 8.30 the next morning - mushroom, cheese, tomato & bacon omelette plus toast etc, fruit juice & coffee, which we ate on the terrace in the early morning sunshine.
Then, onwards to Thames for a couple of nights. Parawai (Thames) is in between tbe plains & mountains of The Coromandel. It is a former gold mining boom town which once produced gold by the tonne. (shame there's none left!) Our motel was on the banks of a fast flowing stream at the base of the mountains & was originally owned by one of the gold mine owners & once had a gold stamper battery on the site. The motel is now run by a Scot & his wife. Whilst we were there we took a drive along the Pohutukawa coast to Coromandel Town. On the way we went to the Rapaura Water gardens & took a long, leisurely walk through native bush to cascading waterfalls known as "The Seven Stairs to Heaven". We wandered through meandering walks over bridges & streams, admiring all the lovely plants, especially the agapanthus, water lilies & huge hydrangeas. After walking for what seemed like miles we were in need of a reviving coffee & scone!
From the water garden we continued on along the coast. The views were breathtaking at every turn of the extremely winding road & we spent the journey "oohing" & "aahing" at the wonderful sights! We then repeated the exclamations on the way back to Thames, enjoying the still hot, sunny weather & marvelling at the amazing blue of the water in the Firth of Thames. We are so lucky to be able to visit this wonderful, amazing, unspoilt place - there are simply not enough words to adequately describe it!
Another wonderful day!