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The Silk Route - World Travel: New Zealand: Coromadel Peninsula
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New Zealand: Coromandel Peninsula
February 2017

Thames, Coromandel & the West East to Whitianga & Cathedral Cove
Cathedral Cove


Seascapes, coves and rocky shorelines, beautiful beaches and great fish and chips!

Thames, Coromandel & the West

Thames
Gulls and Oystercatchers
Thames
A beautiful huge flower on a bush near mangroves - I have no idea what it is!
Thames

 

It doesn't take long to get from Auckland to the Coromandel peninsula, especially if you take the motorway south then head east on highway 2, then head north east to Thames.

Thames is a very nice town, peaceful, with broad streets and an almost New England feel to it. It is one of many in the area which was founded on gold mining.

It was named by Captain Cook when he arrived in 1769 - he saw some resemblance between the Waihou River here and the Thames River in London, England.

Thames
Pies in Food for Thought.

We had lunch at Food for Thought - very good pies: butter chicken and lamb curry. We had a lot of pies in New Zealand and these were some of the best anywhere!

Thames.
Thames
Mangrove aerial roots

 

Thames
The path to the bird hide through mangrove.

 

 

We walked to the coast on the Firth of Thames, to a bird hide, mostly gulls and pied oystercatchers to be seen. The hide was surrounded by mangrove - the aerial root system looks rather unpleasant!

Thames

 

Leaving Thames we drove north heading for the town of Coromandel. We were lucky that it was a nice day. We hadn't realised how much really bad weather New Zealand is subject to. Everything from weather bombs with torrential downpours and even summer snow, massive cyclones to devastating earthquakes, all with the potential to cut transportation links and cause flooding, even to kill.

 

Thames

The winding road hugs the coast and is narrow in places, there are very few opportunities to overtake, but we were in no rush.

Thames
Looking toward Coromandel harbour.

 

The scenery is beautiful so we made several stops to see it better and to take photographs.

Thames
Thames

 

In places trees cover the slopes down to the shore, in others agricultural fields with grazing cattle roll their way down to the water. It's quite varied but always gentle, nothing too dramatic.

 

Thames

Coromandel is another town built on gold, discovered in Driving Creek in 1852. Today it seems quite a sleepy place, but has some pretty clapboard buildings. We had a walk around but there isn't really much here.

From Coromandel we crossed the spine of the peninsula to the east, with fine views, for a while, back over Coromandel Harbour.

Thames
Coromandel Harbour from the east.

 

 

East to Whitianga & Cathedral Cove

Thames
Beach near Kuaotunu.
Thames
Thames

 

 

That night we were staying in Whitianga. We had plenty of time to stop on the way at a fabulous beach near Kuaotunu - a huge length of sand, completely deserted.

Thames
Fish (tarakiki) & chips at Stoked.
Thames

Whitianga is a coastal town, quite spread out - there's lots of space here! We were only staying one night so didn't explore much at all but had a good meal at Stoked and our first taste of NZ beer in the form of Good George IPA from a Hamilton brewery which was one of the best beers we had on either island!

Thames
Thames

The following day we had quite a long drive ahead to Rotorua but started early so that we could stop off at Cathedral Cove. It's a very famous beauty spot with a stone arch jutting out from the cliff. From the car park it was about a twenty minute walk to the cove, which didn't have too many visitors today - apparently it can be packed with people at peak times.

The walk itself is very pleasant, through quite wild landscape with views of the sea, cliffs and islands. The route also passes through the WW1 Memorial Forest.

Thames

 

Thames
Dense growth of tree ferns on the way to Cathedral Cove.
Thames
Cathedral Cove
Thames



Thames
Thames
Thames
Stingray Cove

 

 

On the way back we made a short detour to Stingray Cove where the tide was coming in quite rapidly, then off on our way to Rotorua.

Thames