Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Our Winter Holiday in the North Island

On Saturday just passed we returned from a wonderful two week holiday.
Friends, Linda and Jim, lent us their camper van and away we went. 1000Km later we visited and had fun at the following places:

First stop, Coromandel to visit and ride on Artist Barry Brickell's Driving Creek Railway. This is an absolute must do. Barry's interesting terracotta pottery is displayed in the railway retaining brick works. The railway is also an engineering feat. Barry Brickall is New Zealands most well known terracotta potter.

Next to Port Jackson and Fletcher's bay at the Northern end of the
Coromandel Peninsular where we walked the track to other bays and built an inukshuk.


Port Jackson

Waikawau beach

On the way to our next stop for two nights we checked out Waikawau Bay and The DOC Camp where we used to camp more than 35 years ago. Beautiful empty beach. Then on to a cabin in the bush at The Colville Farm Park where we viewed waterfalls and walked up streams in the bush and a track to the top of the range where we could view the Hauraki Gulf and the East Coast.

From Colville we stopped near Coromandel and climbed Castle Rock for its spectacular cliffy views and bush walk before driving on to the Kauaeranga Valley near Thames for the night. Not enough time to take some of the wonderful walks there.

The following day saw us in the Karangahake Gorge walking part of the Rail Trail there. This is a very interesting and scenic walk along an old gold mining railway and through mining tunnels. Also popular with trail bikes.


Blue fungi
That night we stopped at a friends place in Te Aroha for two nights. In between we walked,climbed the 952m Mt Te Aroha and soaked in the hot pools in the Te Aroha Domain to recover from all our bush walking and climbing. Mt Te Aroha is a fantastic walk. Much of it is through Old Growth Tawa, Beech and Rimu forest. At 900m it becomes a mossy wonderland. At the summit a while enjoying a coffee from our thermos a Tomtit joined us. We often had their company on the track on the North Eastern side.

The next day we climbed the track to the top of the highest waterfall in the North Island. The Wairere Falls at 153m. This is a lovely bush walk with a great view of the Hauraki Plains from the top. After that we needed another hot soak in a pool so stayed at the nearby Opal Hot Pools.

Off to the Waitakaruru Arboretum
 for a stroll around this replanted quarry and its artworks before heading for Te Awamutu to visit Paul Wright, my primary school teacher where we stayed the night before visiting the 55m Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan. As you will see by the photo they are true to name.
Bridal Veil Falls


That night saw us in Raglan and staying with Phillip and Joyce Sweetman. Relations of Melva, before heading to Waingaro hot springs for another long hot soak.

From there we took the Waikeretu road through cliffy limestone country to Port Waikato for a 6Km beach and sand dune walk to the Waikato River outlet.

 Nearly home but not before stopping at Buckland to stay with our good friends Kevin and Sandra Lim for a big catchup.

To summarise, this holiday hi-lighted that New Zealand has fantastic scenery and interesting things to do all over the country at any time of the year. One does not need to wait for summer to enjoy our beautiful place.

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