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cormandel camping

Feb 21 - March 1 Cormandel Camping Trip

Time to explore a little more of the North Island of New Zealand. We opted this time to head for the Coromandel Peninsula, known for its great hikes and scenery, its art community, and gold mining history.

Our counterclockwise route around the Coromandel, in blue.

On the way we discover the incredible Auckland regional parks...

where we camp under a magnificent Pohutukawa tree, right above the beach.

On the cliff hike we come to a replica of a maori village...

recently used for a film.

Huge pohutukawa trees offer a good view seat.

In the morning we dig our limit of small clams.

We camp at the gorgeous Shakespear regional park.

Pokekos and sheep keep us company.

Again we find a wonderful hiking track within the park...

which winds along the seacliff and through pasture.

A pair of these maori totems guard the park entrance.

The Auckland regional parks we visited were originally huge properties farmed by early European settlers, and purchased from their heirs. Kiwis are big on trekking, and each park had extensive walking tracks (trails) that wound along beachs, up along sea cliffs and through pastureland. These parks are treasures.

We drove onto the Coromandel, visiting a sculpture park above Tapu...

where we hiked to a pretty waterfall.

Then to a second waterpark near Cormandel Town, where an engineer had constructed working scupltures from junkyard materials...

including this bouquet from kitchen utensils,

...and this lawnmower bicycle.

On others you can pedal up in the air...

...or pump water at your enemy...

...and slam into tyres on a zipline.

This sculpture near the toilets warns you not to drop your cellphone in.

Cormandel coastal views open up as we drive north.

The unsealed road is now one lane...

...with blind corners and no guardrails.

We camp at the DOC Fantail Cove park...

...and enjoy the sunset.

Heading north, ...

...every turn is another postcard picture.

End of the line, we come to Port Jackson...

...where the scenery just keeps coming.

Another great track beckons...

...the stiles allow us in and sheep out.

Great trekking...

We wake to a morning view outside our car/camper.

Back in Coromandel town we visit art galleries...

...and Driving Creek Potteries. This tower is a marble shute.

Then on to Whitianga...

...where we hike out to Cathdral Cave.

Black fern frond, New Zealand symbol.

Swing gate allows hikers through pastures.

Sculpted rocks at Cathdral Cove.

We explore a small cave.

Huge Cathdral Cave is aptly named.

The sea is a sculptor.

Natural hot water springs...

...allow us to dig our own hottub at Hot Water Beach.

Sliced black ferns reveal interior design.

We visited museums, bought finely made and reasonably priced crafts, and enjoyed long walks through spectacular scenery. A gale packing 10 inches on rain blasted through the North Island on the last days of our trip, so we holed up in Whitianga for a couple nights in a comfortable motel, where we enjoyed good restaurants and another museum while we waited out the deluge. We are again home on Baraka, planning the next trip.

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