Day 109: Colville and Beyond

For the last 24 hours we weren’t sure whether we were in Manchester or Auckland.

It poured with rain so we spent the afternoon indoors watching the gusts of rains smack against the windows of the office buildings opposite.

While Tenzing and Mr How Fucking Much alternated on ironing duties, we watched New Zealand TV. It’s rather like watching ITV3 in the UK – lots of repeats of classic British TV shows.

We darted out between storms for dinner, avoided being run down by the Tuesday night joggers and had a last stroll by the marina.

This morning we left Auckland and set off along the State Highways to the Coromandel Peninsula.

I love travelling through New Zealand.

Just when you think you have seen the most beautiful scenery that is possible, you turn another corner and spy somewhere even lovelier.

We were heading for Coromandel Town with a stop at Thames for lunch.

One of the things I’ve greatly enjoyed about New Zealand is the quirky shop displays: Takapuna and Paeroa offered particular delights.

Thames did not disappoint either.

To be fair, this was actually in a museum… an odd museum

The road beyond Thames followed the coastline, twisting by the sea, which was marvellous until it started throwing rocks at us.

The wind was whipping up the waves and the sea was rough. The waves crashed over the car as we drove along one stretch.

This was great until they dropped the debris they were carrying onto the bonnet.

Our destination wasn’t quite as far as Colville – we’re staying in Coromandel Town.

We’re staying here for a few days and we spent this afternoon getting our bearings and planning some activities.

I want to do some hiking and there are some great walks on the Coromandel Peninsula. I’ll be doing the Coromandel Coastal Walk tomorrow courtesy of Leanne and Gavin who responded incredibly quickly when I contacted their company Coromandel Discovery to ask about their shuttle/tour service.

I’ll let you know how this goes tomorrow… unless I’m tired.

(There was apparently slight concern in some quarters when there wasn’t a blog post published immediately after I completed the Tongariro Crossing. There were, however, photoson Instagram so there was evidence of my survival).

There are other walks on the Coromandel Peninsula and Colville and Beyond have produced beautifully designed cards that provide guides for some of the most beautiful walks.

The Trailcards are easy to fit into a small bag and on the back of each is a detailed guided to the walk, including where to park and nearby facilities.

The cards were designed by local artist Rebekah Pearson so it’s unlikely you’ll want to fold or crease them.

These cards are just one example of the work by Colville and Beyond – local collective that aims to promote the Coromandel Peninsula and all it has to offer:

  • Local artists and artisans
  • Activities – walking, horse riding, mountain biking
  • Sights and places to visit
  • Restaurants and hotels

The work aims to support local businesses and to help create a sustainable tourism industry, creating jobs for people living in this part of the Peninsula.

Colville and Beyond are on Instagram featuring Blossom the Possum who is a reformed character and no longer eating the native fauna and flora.

In the 1830s, possums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia in a plan to create a fur industry. In 1946, possums were officially declared a pest. By 1950 possums were found in over half of New Zealand and they kept spreading.

They endanger the country’s native species and trapping, poisoning and shooting has now reduced the possum population. But there are still about 30 million possums in New Zealand today.

Blossom is now frequenting the restaurants of Coromandel Town and other places and thanks to Instagram and Colville and Beyond you can follow her adventures as she explores what is on offer in the Coromandel Peninsula.

Following in her footprints, we had dinner at the Star and Garter just down the road from where we are staging.

The other reason to visit the Coromandel is the food. We were advised to look out for macadamias, local cheeses, boutique wines, craft beers, crayfish, oysters, mussels and scallops.

The Star and Garter has a decent menu including several mouthwatering descriptions of pizza at 24 NZD. One of them was called the Coromandel.

Well, it would have been rude not to.

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