Thursday, February 25, 2016

Coromandel dreamin'

For the first destination on our road trip, we were determined to bank some beach time before heading south (the Southern Hemisphere equivalent of heading north) and before autumn arrived. Picking the dates for our trip was a bit of a delicate balance - go too soon and you've used up most of your holiday time for the year (at least in Jules's case) right after the Christmas break, plus you're competing for space with innumerable families. Go too late, and you risk missing the best of the weather.

So far, mostly so good. We've reached Wellington - almost, Paraparaumu for those in the know - and hit our first big weather-related snag, in the form of a cancelled trip to the Kapiti Island bird reserve tomorrow. Big sad face. Otherwise, the weather has been mostly warm and sunny with a bit of cloud, which was actually quite good for our beach trip, otherwise it probably would have been too hot to spend any length of time out at the beach.

As it was, we stayed two nights and got three swims under our belts. We had been planning to go to Waihi Beach, which would have saved us having to drive up the Coromandel Peninsula and back. However, at our family barbecue on Saturday, one of my cousins offered us the keys to her bach (holiday home) most of the way up the peninsula, at Matarangi. It's hard to say no to an offer like that, so without even sleeping a night in the van, we were off for a 4-ish hour drive to our first destination.

The Coromandel is a lot more rugged than I remembered. The windy roads with a cove around every bend did come back to me as we drove, but I had forgotten the reasonably steep elevations. It was a beautiful drive, which I did my best to capture as Official Roadtrip Photographer (also Co-Pilot and Reminderer to stay on the Lefter). Talking of which, this is Jules's first time driving on the left, not to mention hauling an almost 8-metre long motorhome around, and he is doing a stellar job of both things. On roads like this, no less:

One of the many one-lane bridges we have encountered so far

Not much room for error here

But as you can see, the reward for going around those narrow, windy roads is the spectacular views of the coast.

(Presumably) low tide near Thames

Plus, when we got higher into the hills, some lovely views back the way we had driven to the water.


  1. Yay - have been looking forward to your first post on the trip. Well done Jules!

    1. Good, I have like four queued up now. A whole evening's

  2. The driving is going surprisingly well. It's quite fun seeing the little differences on the road like signs, markings on the road, lights ... everything is just a tiny bit weird and foreign.

    I was quite worried about driving the huge van and being on the other side of the road to what I'm used to, but the van is really easy to drive and with cameras and huge mirrors you keep a pretty good view of your surroundings.

  3. Bravo to Jules for his skill at driving on the left. It always feels strange to me, even though I did it for three years in Trinidad.


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