Thursday 2 August 2012

The 309

We've spent most of today driving through some of the most beautiful scenery I've ever seen. We were going to visit Cathedral Cove, where they filmed part of Prince Caspian, but it started pouring with rain last night and continued all morning. I would have loved to have seen it, but it's apparently half an hour's walk, and that would definitely not have been fun with the boys, especially as Jamie has now got the cough and sore throat that Ben had last week. So, we had a bit of a lazy morning - Mummy-cuddles for Jamie and a soak in the hot tub for Daddy and Ben! This campsite has definitely spoilt us. It has just been refurbished, and the facilities are fantastic - great cooking, washing and laundry facilities and fantastic pools - and we had the whole site to ourselves!

We then set off for Coromandel town on the other side of the peninsula, and we drove along the 309 road for part of it. Although the word "road" is slightly misleading. Gravel track is what most websites describe it as! It cuts across the peninsula from Whitianga to Coromandel, winding back and forth following rivers through up one side of the range and back down the other. It's about 14 miles long, and I think T was very glad that it wasn't any longer! I think we met only 4 other vehicles along the way, and thankfully none of them were very big, so no one had to reverse. I tried to take some pictures along the way, but they just don't do the area justice.

The scenery along the 309 is amazing, even in the rain. The inland landscape in New Zealand reminds me of parts of Wales or the Peak District, just on a much larger scale, but then I see a stand of massive fern trees, and we definitely don't see any of those in the wild in the UK! I've been pleased that my geography knowledge hasn't deserted me from lack of use - I've still been able to recognise glacial features such as arêtes, drumlins and kames. If I was still teaching A level geography I would have taken so many pictures for my classes by now!

We stopped for lunch at Mill Creek Bird rescue centre. The lady running it let us in for free as most of the attractions (miniature railway, animal feeding etc) were closed due to the weather, but there were still peacocks roaming around, parrots that delighted Ben when they said hello back to him, emus, and a whole flock of mischievous rainbow-coloured birds that wanted to play!

We've parked up at a campsite in Colomandel for the night. We've got some sightseeing planned for tomorrow, and then it's off to Rotorua!


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