Saturday 17th Feb, 2018
Well long journeys can be tiresome and tiring.Today we pack our kit, load the car and set off for our next pit stop at Waihi Beach. Waihi sits to the south of the Coromandel peninsula, on the Pacific coast of NZ way to the south, and east of Auckland so we must retrace our steps to Auckland and continue on. The 250 km back to Auckland was OK-ish. At least the road was familiar except that is was the other way round.
We have now been shopping and reconfigured our car with a box of foodstuffs, en-route snacks, drinks and so on. We have this touring stuff mastered. It is just that another 160 km is added on from Auckland and it gets wearying. Anyway we soak up the distance in our little red car and enjoy the new views.
The land changes to the south of Auckland. This part of North island is a series of north to south hill chains with swathes of gentle, flat, fertile grazing land between them where the rivers run off. We spy dairy farms galore, milk tankers taking their produce to market, and again tidy single storey farmsteads. The single track highway with occasional passing places is getting to David who wants to get this journey over. Well he does, and we roll into Waihi Beach ocean resort at about 3 o’clock.
Our accommodation, The Waihi Beach Lodge is a delight. We have booked a series of cottages cum apartments. They are a very common format in NZ, kitted out with small kitchens, pots and pans etc. as well as the usual bedroom and bathrooms. Some have laundry facilities too. We are welcomed and billeted de-luxe and given a guide to the area by our hosts. This hostel features in the Lonely Planet guide to NZ and deservedly. Stiff from driving for 6 hours, we walk the 30m across the dunes to the ocean beach (which stretches 9km), and stroll for a couple of km or so dipping our toes in the ocean and watching the surf. This place is a surfers Mecca.
The sand is clean and washed; shells abound and Sue is in her element combing for samples of clam shells that aren’t chipped or smashed. Our walk is really a recce. to the nearest restaurant which we tag for an early dinner. And so to bed listening to the roar of the surf. We shall explore Waihi tomorrow.