Day 16 - On the Road to Orere Point


Day 1 - Arrival
Day 2 - Raglan to Urenui
Day 3 - The Long Road to Levin
Day 4 - A Day with Granny
Day 5 - A Wellington Wander
Day 6 - The Tour to Taupo
Day 7 - Rolling to Rotarua
Day 8 - The Redolence of Rotorua
Day 9 - The Beach at Bowentown
Day 10 - Outtrip to Ohope
Day 11 - Meander over McLaren Falls
Day 12 - Mission to Mt. Manganui
Day 13 - Shopping the Strand
Day 14 - Wistful in Whangamata
Day 15 - Cruising to Coromandel
Day 16 - On the Road to Orere Point
Day 17 - Departure

Sunday, March 31

Our last full day in New Zealand, and we're on the northern end of the Coromandel Peninsula. The weather had turned ugly - lots of people had left the campsite early. We still had a good amount of driving to do before we could get back, and we still needed to find a place to stay for our last night.

The drive out was relatively uneventful, except that the rains and tides were extremely high, to the point that some parts of the road looked to be at risk of flooding.

Stacy dumps the garbage as we head out of camp. Heading back into the hills, this time looking at the Firth of Thames - an inlet on the other side of the peninsula.
Holy cow, look how high the water is! This is marsh, flooded to the point where another foot of water and it would go right over the road.

Our first stop of the day was Thames, an old gold rush town turned bedroom community about half way down the peninsula. Being Sunday, pretty well everything was closed, but we found a grocery for our dinner that night, and a cafe for some breakfast. Nothing fancy.

Graham and Jeanette had mentioned a huge rock shop along the road from Thames to Auckland (well, more or less), so we spent brunch pouring over the maps making sure we knew where to go. Then it was off to find it.

Hanging in the cafe in Thames. Coming back across the one lane bridge... back you say? Last time we crossed this bridge was June 1, 2001!
Going down some country roads (still on the wrong side), looking for the big rock shop. Found it - Alex checks out the goodies.
Stacy does too. There's a warehouse full of rocks! Richard and Alex by the lapidary supplies.

Heading back to the main road, we followed the coast up the other side of the Firth of Thames in an area known as the Sea Bird Coast. By the early afternoon we were hungry and stopped at a beach for a bite and look around. The weather wasn't too kind, but we were ready for anything (other than driving, of course).

This looks like a nice place to stop, let's stop! Okay!
Alex and Caitlin explore the rocky beach. Hey, is that a little rock crab?
Why yes it is! Alex and Caitlin show Stacy their finds.

The lunch break had also given us a chance to study the map and decide where we might stay the night... and up the coast at the point of the other side of the Firth of Thames is a place called Orere Point, and right there is an RV park. It took a bit of driving to find it, and getting in there wasn't easy (steep narrow road), but they had space for us and all the things our RV needed as well.

You know you wanted to see us do plumbing work one more time... The river that runs beside the RV park.
Caitlin hikes down the river. Alex hikes down too. Its raining off and on.
At the bottom of the river is the ocean, shockingly enough. Stop taking pictures and come to bed!

We had a nice visit with some of the long-weekenders that were camping around us. The vast majority of this RV park was filled with semi-permanent homes... mostly trailers that hadn't been moved in a few years, and had rooms added on and such. It seemed we were the only foreign vacationers around.

But our time was up too - we'd be heading home the next day.