Bay of Plenty, Coromandel - our last days in NZ

Trip Start Jan 01, 2008
Trip End Dec 29, 2008

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Thursday, July 17, 2008

We spent the next few days driving around the Bay of Plenty and then the Coromondel Peninsula, a sparsely populated and picturesque area of the north island reminiscent of Devon and Cornwall. Once again, the weather was awful so we really didn't see it at its best.  Lots of coast line  -   the rugged west side and the sandy east side. 
The area has many walks, many centred upon the old gold mining industry in the area. We spend a couple of hours on the Karangahake Gorge Walk,  1km of which is through a disused railway tunnel  (extremely dark and creepy).   Another great (but wet!) walk was to Cathedral Cove a massive arch in the cliffs and apparently a great area for snorkelling (a bit cold!).

The weather now is beginning to take its toll on our enthusiasm so we decided to leave the peninsula and head off to Northland. We spend a few days driving around the area but unfortunately the weather does not get any better and reinforces our rapidly growing belief that the North island is not a patch on the South Island (although to be fair we are not seeing it at the best time of year!).  Northland is known for its beaches and is certainly best visited in summer. 

We are approaching the end of our time in NZ  so we decide to head back to Taupo/Rotorua which we like and where we intend to spend our last few days avoiding the storms, prior to ditching our campervan home in favour of the comfort of a nice hotel in Auckland.

The last 10 days or so or our time in New Zealand have been very wet.  The news is full of floods, road closures, land slips and effects of the extraordinary amount of rain that New Zealand has experienced -  the highest rainfall for 16 years.    Snow has closed some of the roads that we have recently driven along.  Certainly driving up to Auckland on State Highway Number 1, we can see floods everywhere.   

Despite the weather during the last month we have thoroughly enjoyed our time in New Zealand.  Maybe we will return during their summer or perhaps even longer!

Ironically, we experience the first bright sunny day for weeks as we make our way to the airport for the long, long trip accross the Pacific and the International Date Line to Lima (via Santiago and an 8 hour transit wait!).
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