Friday, February 02, 2007

Coromandel calm

escaped the hustle and bustle of the great city on a 2 hour catamaran ferry across to the Coromandel peninsula and found the best backpacker hostel so far to stay at. Modern and new wooden cabins surrounded by tropical gardens, with complimentary bbq, swimming pool and spa, all of which got well used.

Teamed up with Marlen, a german girl and went on a twilight fishing trip the night we arrived. Four hours on a mussel barge out in the bay to catch our tea. There were about 20 on the trip, and a great maori family provided us with excellent advice and shared their bait. We managed 4 snapper, enough for two evening meals, whilst the family quickly filled a large crate with all manner of fishes, including a metre long shark, which, aparently is good to eat so long as it is bled!!

Hired a car the following day and headed off to the Hot Water beach, where warm springs percolate up through the sands at low tide. It was about 50 miles away through stunning scenery and steep winding roads over summits with panoramic viewpoints for photos and deep into gorges clothed in huge tree ferns and tumbling streams. The beach was swarming with people with spades, franticaly digging holes to sit in warm water before the tide came in. We were suitably amused by the scene and tried the warm waters with our feet before moving on.

Stopped at a secluded beach for lunch and a swim, in water that was warm enough to get straight into and chilled in the sunshine for a good long while.

Cathederal cove was further down the coast so we headed there. A good 30 minute trek from the carpark along the coast before decending 168 steps, a little girl had just finished counting them as we got to the top, down onto golden sands, with green topped islands just off shore. It's called Cathederal cove because of the huge arch under the cliffs that links two bays, a very impressive cool space with beaches in warm sunshine on either side. Getting back up to the car was a killer.

As our good deed for the day we gave a lift to a hitchhiker, who turned out to be a very smelly and rather drunk chap who was camping in the middle of nowhere for no aparent reason. We dropped him off so as we could get some fresh air and decided he was probably hiding from the authorities for some reason. Went home and barbecued the remaining snapper for our tea, with tomato and avocado salad and a couple of beers.

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