Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Ray's Rest and on to Coromandel

We dropped Cat off in Auckland, sadly, but will meet her in Tauranga on Saturday for Wedding Dress Shopping.

It had been raining most of the day, all the way from Whangarei down, and showed no sign of letting up. We headed for a freedom campsite (no facilities WHATSOEVER) on the coast, in the Miranda wetlands on the Firth of Thames. It is a RAMSAR site, next to the Taramaire Wildlife Refuge Reserve, with all kinds of waders and shore birds trolling the shoreline for food. We parked just above the high tide line, achieving 'camping on the beach'.

Mercifully, no chance of getting stuck.

A colourful dawn would have been lovely, but it was still grey and spitting with rain the next morning, so we got going early.

Made our way up the western side of the Coromandel Peninsular, stopping for camper van maintenance (glossing over the details here, but let's say that we really, really needed plastic gloves for one of the jobs. Walked into the town of Thames to buy them and look for wedding decorations, too).
Coast road up Firth of Thams


Tuck's Bay
Lots of beautiful view stops, collecting interesting pieces of wood on a beach of green-lipped mussels.

Arriving in Coromandel town, we got the bikes out and went exploring. Beautiful old buildings, a town obviously focused on upmarket tourism but with a friendly, relaxed air.

Then to Long Bay campsite, past dozens and dozens of oyster catchers and red-billed gulls perched in the shadows. A walk through a kauri forest, then settled down for a quiet night by the shore.

Except, it wasn't particularly quiet. The night started clear, with brilliant moonlight shining in; then, heavy showers in the early hours.  Would we get stuck when we tried to drive out?

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