Heading back to Auckland from Whitianga we took the road down the east coast of the Coromandel which continued to be delightful. From a high point on the coast road we had a fine view of the coastal town of Tairua and its lovely setting beneath and around the extinct volcano of Mount Paku. When we eventually arrived in the town we walked to the pointy summit of Paku for some spectacular views up and down the coast and inland to the craggy pinnacles of the Coromandel Range. Another gem! We decided to take a different route back to Auckland, this time via Miranda and skirting the Firth of Thames (yes, that is its name). Miranda is another place known for its hot thermal springs, and having missed out at Hot Water Beach, in we went for good soak. It was a good run all the way back into Auckland returning through Clevedon (where we bought oysters) and where we'd had lunch with Jeremy the other week. Back 'home' at the motel it was to hear from our friends Judy and Pat that they'd be with us the following day. They arrived at the motel in time for us to have a good blether, a ferry trip to Devonport (although the weather was wet and overcast), a pint in our local (The Bog) and a meal at Kopio, our local Malaysian where we're now becoming quite well known as regulars. Another really lovely day. Next morning we had Judy and Pat up for breakfast (they were staying in the studio below us) before a visit to the French market (where we bought some 'foodies'), then a coffee followed by a quick look at the old original Holy Trinity Church and Auckland Cathedral (guided by Sheena, a nice elderly woman from Glasgow) before they headed off to the airport to fly home to Australia. Since we met Judy and Pat in Tasmania in March 2007 we've managed to meet up with them on three occasions. Hopefully this won't be the last because we had a really great time with loads of fun and laughs. The rest of the weekend was spent planning for South America although we did venture out on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon to explore some of the nice areas of Parnell down by the waterfront.
E & M xxxx