The dismantling of the freshwater tank is finished. Dazzler is in complete and total disarray and there’s nothing to do now but wait for the new tank to be manufactured. So, what do two adventurers with the longing to wander in their souls do? Well, we take off to explore the area by land. And so it is time to head off to the Coromandel Peninsula.
We’ve done a fair bit of traveling around this stunning country but the Coromandel is one area we’ve completely missed up until now. The drive up from Tauranga to our Air BnB would have been a little under four hours had we driven without stopping but then what kind of adventurers forgo stopping when there are so many great things to see along the way?
First Things First
Just because we’re heading out for a couple of weeks of R & R doesn’t mean Dan has completely forgotten about the work being done on Dazzler so our first stop after leaving Tauranga is in Katikati at Hercules Tanks. He is dying to see the facility where our new tanks are being manufactured.
We spoke with Jill and Frank, the owners, and also with Ryan who is one of their engineers. Ryan was kind enough to give us a tour of the facility and teach us exactly how these polypropylene tanks are created. Coming from a manufacturing family I’m always interested in seeing how things are made and, of course being somewhat of an engineer himself, Dan enjoys learning about manufacturing as well.
We were delighted with our tour and I think it gave Dan a sense of comfort that all will go well while we are off enjoying ourselves. Hopefully he will actually relax a little on this trip as there’s still a lot of work ahead of him upon our return.
Tank facility tour complete we headed out to Owharoa Falls. I’m completely addicted to taking photographs of waterfalls and New Zealand has no shortage of them. These particular falls are touted as some of the nicest in the area so I told Dan we just had to stop. And, one nice thing is they are just a short three minute walk down a trail from the roadway. Even though it was a bit overcast and gloomy, they did not disappoint! I snapped a few dozen or so photos taken at just about every angle I could get and we were off again.
From here we headed back north on State Highway 25 toward Whitianga. (Pronounced Fit ē on ga or Wit ē on ga depending upon which Kiwi or Māori person you ask). Seems there is a great deal of debate about how to pronounce the “wh” in names and words here which is ironic since there are so many that begin with these two letters. For us we pronounce it the way the person we are speaking to does at the moment. Just seems easier that way.
The Drive North
The drive to Whitianga, however you choose to pronounce it, is a gorgeous drive. There are beautiful farms, mountains, ocean views and so much more. It is the beginning of winter here which means it’s also the rainy season. The hills and fields are literally glowing with green fauna that is so bright it is almost neon in color. The gloomy backdrop of grey skies and fog show them off in striking detail. I just can’t snap enough photos of this fabulous scenery. And even though the day is rainy we’re enjoying every moment.
Of course my love makes a few stops along the way for me to take my photographs and I also add some new images to my New Zealand at 100 km/hour collection that will appear in our upcoming book. We’re working on a coffee table book and this will be one of the chapters. It’s amazing how many great images you can get from a really good camera even while driving at high speeds. And, honestly, if we stopped each time I saw something I wanted to photograph we’d never have made it out of Whangarei.
We arrive in Whitianga and by this time we are famished so we locate a quaint little Irish pub called Grace O’Malley’s Irish Inn. We enjoy the view of the park and water while sipping on a couple of pints of Guinness and eating a tasty lunch. Then it’s off to the grocery store to pick up a few items to stock up our Air BnB. We like BnBs because we get tired of eating out so we always choose ones with kitchens that allow us the option of cooking meals in from time to time.
The Bush Studio Apartment….WOW!
The Bush Studio apartment we have chosen to make our home for the next few days is located just fifteen minutes outside of Whitianga in a little town called Kuaotunu.
Muriel and Evan’s place is simply delightful. This fabulous Air BnB is located in a valley deep within the forest. It’s remote while still being close to town and an easy drive to just about anything you want to do in the area. The home itself is a large octagon where the hosts live on the top floor and the BnB is located on the bottom floor. When you live on a boat sometimes it’s nice to stay in a different type of place for a while and this is perfect.
The unit itself has 180° of windows looking over the lush green forest with doors that open onto the beautiful wooden deck. From the deck you can see the the tops of the fern like Ponga trees which are some of my favorite trees in all of New Zealand. Below the deck you can hear the gurgling of the stream and at night you can even hear the screeching of the ever elusive Kiwi birds as they scurry about the forest floor. (Click to hear what they sound like.)
With no light pollution in the area, on a clear night, you can see the stars and the Milky Way just as clearly as we do on ocean passages. With a perfectly clear night this evening I am able to pick up a few interesting sky shots which is always a joy for me. Dan, on the other hand, has decided to turn in early. Poor dear is exhausted from the past couple of weeks. He’s definitely earned an early to bed night and maybe even a few naps along our journey.
Yes, it looks like we chose the right BnB this time and we’re looking forward to staying here for the next few days as we explore the Coromandel. Tomorrow we are off to Port Jackson at the northern tip of the peninsula. Should be a fun trip with lots more to see in this dazzling part of New Zealand.
Until next time,