Thursday, July 18, 2013

Crossing the Coromandel

Overlook near Hahei
Got up in the morning, and had our diverse breakfasts, from fried apples to chinese honey sausages with scrambled eggs. A group effort got things cleaned up rapidly, and we got all the sheets stripped, bathrooms sanitized to mil-spec, counters washed, floors swept and vacuumed, and in short time had the beach house all buttoned up once again. We then caravaned out to the overlook near Cathedral Cove, near Hahei. Lawrence and Victoria left us at that point, as they weren’t up for the strenuous hike down to the cove. Michele and I and Vinnie and Karen took about 45 minutes to hike the trail, which has the curious property of actually being uphill in both directions – walk it sometime. The tui birds were warbling in the forest, and the weather was perfect for a stroll in the woods.

Cathedral Cove
The Cove was made world famous by its use as the setting for the children’s return to Narnia in the recent movie, Prince Caspian, and is characterized by its beautiful white rock cliffs and a magnificent natural archway. I didn’t see the Pevensies at all, but the rest of the scenery was incredible, and the trek in was well worth it. On the way back Vinnie and Karen decided to explore another cove trail, but M and I wanted to get on the road again, so we parted ways with them as well, perhaps to meet in Belgium some day.
We got to drive the winding road across the spine of the Coromandel peninsula in the daylight this time, and enjoy all the views, including one spot where you can see the Pacific Ocean on the left and the Firth of Thames on the right simultaneously. We hunted for a rumoured outlet mall in Kopu without success, then paused in a nice little café at the edge of Thames for a cup of cappucino before semi-randomly selecting a place to stay.

Evening on the Firth of Thames
We ended up at the Coast Motor Inn just north of town, with a number of cute little chalets facing the firth and overlooking lovingly landscaped grounds. The proprietors are super nice folks, and we got settled in rapidly. Our room had a nice kitchenette and a deck perfect for al fresco dining, so we drove back into Thames to explore the main drag and pick up a few groceries to enjoy there.
We dined on smoked mussels flavored with sweet chili or barbecue sauce, slices of sharp cheddar cheese, toasted ciabbata bread with soft bleu cheese, cucumber slices marinated in balsamic vinegar,  accompanied by an Oyster Bay chardonnay and finishing with sliced apples and kiwi fruit for dessert.

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