Hahei is difficult to leave but as I climb up into the driving cab, I’ll remember Hahei for a long time, it’s not often you turn fifty and this was a good a place to be when I did. Up over the hills of the Coromandel, past the town of Whitianga we reach our first destination, Black Jack Scenic Reserve, the best coffee house in miles, literally, the place is jammed with people, it takes a while to get our order but it was worth it, coffee and Strawberry Muffins (Kiwi’s love their muffins!) Taking a stroll out to the sea front, it’s an ideal and remote place but once again we have reached it on our final day.
The road climbs up over the headland and down towards the Thames on the other side we stop at a couple of view points, diving off the road to snatch a parking place. At the apex we can catch a view down in both directions, counting the islands in the sea, the surrounding undulating landscape layered by tree cover into the distance. On the other side we stop to gaze over the more inaccessible parts of the Northern Coromandel, the bays and islands and bare rolling hills and valleys, all tantalizingly close at hand. We roll down the hills and turn right towards Coromandel town, and take a wander for a while through the Main Street and grab some late lunch, time is seeping away from us and the inevitable return to Auckland tomorrow morning is looming.
The road along the Thames is a must, really narrow in places, trees over-hanging the road, unforgiving cliffs on one side a drop to the sea of a couple of meters on the other. When the sea is choppy I image this road is closed, indeed a friend of mine was caught up in the February cyclone while in the Coromandel and was blocked off from moving in either direction because of landslides and trees having been blown over.
We reach our starting point later in the day and as the light fades from the sky we dip into the naturally heated pools in Miranda, to soak away the road induced aches and pains. it’s an early start in the morning as we rejoin civilization back at Auckland airport. As the sun comes up and we are driving along the Thames waterfront towards the main road, the Coromandel is bathed in morning light across the bay. Remembering our start only four weeks ago when we sat on the shell beach overlooking the bay, I look at my wife and ask “left or right ? Let’s go around again.” She smiles and looks me in the eye from over the top of her sunglasses and replys “yeah, why not.”
At the end of the road, 3,775 km and four weeks driving through the North Island of New Zealand. Wish we could go back to the beginning…..On the road road again