We were supposed to go on holiday to Australia to visit friends in Canberra and go sea kayaking and snorkelling with some friends in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. As a result of Aaron's broken wrist we had to change our plans and have postponed our trip to Australia until next year. So instead we took the opportunity to spend a week exploring an area of New Zealand that we haven't been to and we headed up to the Coromandel Peninsular, (just to the east of Auckland in the north of the North Island). The temperature was a lot warmer than Wellington and reached a balmy 21 degrees C, it wasn't windy and we had only a couple of spots of rain. Perfect weather for camping! Spring has definitely sprung in that part of New Zealand and there were lots of cherry blossom and kowhai flowers out on the trees.
After a long drive north on the first day we spent the second day walking up to the Pinnacles just outside of Thames. This used to be a big forestry area where they logged all the really old and big Kauri trees for building houses and decimated the forest in the area. (Kauri is what Aaron's coffee table is made out of).
Helen inside a chopped down Kauri tree. Kauri trees can grow pretty big!
There are a few large old trees left standing on the Coromandel peninsular, and they are very majestic. We have not got a photo as the pictures don't do the size of the trees any justice. They have planted a lot of Kauri trees on the peninsular in the last few years to try to regenerate some of these original native forests.
A small Kauri.
The Pinnacles tramp is pretty undulating and not too strenuous, until you get to the final pinnacles where there are a series of ladders and scrambling to get to the top. Aaron had a few issues, only having one arm to hold on with - but he survived and the view from the top was quite impressive.
The Pinnacles (note ladder in background)
The next few days we spent heading up the west coast of the Coromandel to the northern tip of the peninsular. From here you can see over to Great Barrier Island and there are lots of rock stacks sticking out of the ocean. We did a nice walk along the coastal walkway from our campsite at Port Jackson.
View of the end of the peninsular with Great Barrier Island on the horizon ~20 km away.
We then worked our way back down the east side of the Coromandel. This is the more touristy side of the peninsular with lots of people visiting Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach. Unfortunately the timing of the tides meant that we didn't make it to Hot Water Beach, but we had a nice walk at dusk to Cathedral Cove.
Cathedral Cove (Aaron for scale just under the arch).
Silhouette of us standing under the arch with one of the stacks behind.
We had a very relaxing and nice holiday, it wasn't quite sea kayaking and snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, but it was a good break and it was good to get out and explore more of New Zealand.