09.03.2014 - 12.03.2014 23 °C
Well it's now 5.00am Wednesday 12 March in NZ and we are just sipping our last flat white whilst sitting in the departure lounge at Auckland Airport. We're not feeling too bright but that's due to the fact that we had to get up at 3.30 this morning in order to make our 6.50 flight to Sydney and connection on to Bangkok. We have about 10 hours of flying ahead of us together with 2 hours connection delay in Sydney! It's not a pleasant prospect but we do have 9 days in Krabi to look forward to with lots of chill out time.
We just loved our time in NZ it's such a beautiful country and with so few people that daily life seems very easy going. We found the Coromandel peninsular to be as good as anywhere else we have been in NZ. It has some stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. Coromandel Town is where we were based for our stay which seemed quite remote with a long drive up the peninsular on twisty roads that hugged the coastline but once there, there was at least the same distance beyond which is only accessible on dirt tracks. Our rental agreement for the Motorhome does not allow travel on such roads so we booked on a trip to take us in a mini bus to the end of the track (2 hours drive) from which we had a lovely walk for 4hours across the remote northern tip of the peninsular to a point on the other side where the dirt track starts again and we would be picked up for the return journey. Our guide for the day, Willi, was an interesting guy. He was our age and had worked in the City of London as a trader for many years before coming back home to NZ to be in semi retirement whilst running Coromandel Adventures. He gave us a very colourful account of local history, Mauri culture, local politics, flora and fauna and anything else that took his fancy as we travelled to and from our walk. It was an unforgettable day and especially the journey home, as an unbelievably vivid sunset developed and Willi kept stopping at various scenic spots for photos. We arrived back almost too late to eat but we did manage to find somewhere open. Actually eating times seem to be early and closely observed here. We often found that we were just too late to eat as the restaurants had closed for orders by 8.30pm.
On our last day in Coromandel we went to the famous Hot Water Beach. The thing to do here is get yourself a spade, get down to the beach as low tide approaches, find a hotspot where the thermal waters are coming through, dig a pit and jump in to the hot water that has filled it. You have to be careful because in some spots the water can reach temperatures which would be too hot to bear. We felt a bit silly heading down to the beach with our metal spade but soon got into it as there were loads of people of all ages trying to find the best hot spot. Again we misjudged the eating - there were only two places and both were closed by 8:00 pm as was the chippy on the campsite. Scrambled eggs on toast for dinner!
Finally on to Auckland for a couple of days, the first day exploring the harbour area, which is not quite finished and on the second we took the ferry over to Devonport on the other side of the harbour. Not too impressed with Auckland to be honest and Wellington was also disappointing but then again people don't come here for the city experience!
We will post photos later ... Need to get ourselves to the Gate now.