Friday, July 19, 2013

Around the Firth

Thames at low tide
After a nice little breakfast of ciabatta bread and honey, fruit and yogurt, we ran a load of laundry, and went for a walk along the beach at low tide, like the rest of the senior citizens in the area. Seems to be a large community of retirees in the vicinity of Thames. Checked out of the motor lodge and drove north along the coastline of the peninsula. There is a town called Coromandel on the peninsula of the same name, and so on all the road signs, to avoid confusion, it is listed as Coromandel Town, and that's where we headed. The road along the water is simply incredible. Every time I think I've seen the best road for motorcycling ever, I find another one here. I have to come back someday and ride them all.

The road to Coromandel Town
Coromandel Town, itself, was not terribly impressive but its surroundings and the route made the trip worthwhile. We walked around the main street for a bit, looking in a few shops, but soon turned around and went back to the coastline. We paused for lunch at a place recommended by Liz at the motor lodge, the Waiomu Beach CafĂ©, and had a "light" lunch of mussel chowder and roasted potato wedges. The chowder was creamy and rich, and generously peppered with perfectly cooked mussels, and the potatoes were steaming hot out of the oven, with flakes of sea salt and a homemade aioli dip. Washed down with a Bunderberg creaming soda, it put a pleasant spin on the rest of the afternoon, which was made a bit melancholy by the lowering clouds and our return to the vicinity of the airport.

Waiomu Beach fare
We chose to avoid the traffic of the motorway north to Auckland and chose instead to negotiate the country roads on the west side of the Firth of Thames, and drove through little hamlets like Miranda, Wharekaya and Orere before turning slightly inland and encountering Clevedon where we browsed for some time at the Wool Shed, finally discovering a nice merino/possum cardigan for Michele to take home. Checked in to the Howick Motor Lodge a bit later and ended up having a fish & chips dinner from a takeaway place nearby. The tempura fish was decent, the hoki bites passable, but the crab sticks left something to be desired. Spent a quiet evening in our room, organizing our luggage.

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