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The Cruisy Life: Part 2

Part Two of my cruisy life comes to you from… my bedroom. Struck down by Covid, I’ve finally found the strength to tap a few keys, but I’d prefer to look back to when we were raring to go and explore. After driving the northern tip of Coromandel Peninsula, we focused on more local activities, visiting shops and cafes, museums and galleries, and Waitete Bay and other bays that we’d missed on the way up the peninsula. We saved revisiting an old haunt we’d enjoyed many years ago, until last: Driving Creek Range Railway. Highly recommended. If you’ve never been there, it’s worth the trip. A mixture of art, conservation, quirkiness and engineering – and stunning scenery. The ferns are amazing.

The days passed with easy-going repose but the time came to same goodbye to one side of the Coromandel Peninsula and head to the other, and Whitianga. The one thing you soon learn about the Coromandel is that is always another stunning view over the hill, but there is the inevitable winding, often steep hill to traverse first to find it, even between bays let alone over the spine. But the trip passed without difficulty and we are soon in another camping spot ready to explore an entirely different Coromandel lifestyle.

Whitianga is a mini Auckland by the Sea. Wealthy homes on the waterways with expensive boats tied up at the jetty. One with a matching launch, tender and helicopter to ferry the owner wherever they wanted to go. Lots of Audi’s, Merc’s, and personal helicopters, excellent restaurants and a beautiful beach. Again, it had been many, many years since we’d last visited and we were surprised at the changes we saw.

Unfortunately, we were there at the time of Cyclone Cody slashing its tail around, and while we were all told not to go to the beach and watch the moment the possible tsunami activity was due to strike, hundreds did. I captured a moment when the waves struck the rock wall. The next one soaked me from head to foot. The swells meant we couldn’t do the Cathedral Cover tour we’d planned. Instead, we visited the wonderful, not-so-secret hideaway known as The Lost Spring spa. Divine.

The wind, while annoying, didn’t stop us driving to visit the beaches north like Kūaotunu and Opito Bay, nor driving south around the long way to Ferry Landing less than 10 minutes across the water from Whitianga. On the way we visited Hot Water Beach, Hahei, Cooks Beach, and Flaxmill Bay. All different, all with their own special features and exceptional vistas. We walked along all the beaches, drove down roads to see what was there and returned. There is no doubt, we live in a beautiful country with unique flora and fauna, with beaches and oceans, with great food and excellent wines, and we are spoilt. We are so spoilt, we don’t know how lucky we really are.

When you slow the pace of life down and rely on your feet to take you places, and your senses to draw in sounds and smells, you have the time to reflect on what is important in life. To me, it’s family; whanau. Our well-being, our knowledge, our values. It’s important for us to be connected to who we are and what we believe, to enjoy each others company, to be a part of the larger picture and to care and look out for each other. That is what I try to reflect in my stories, the value of life, family, and heritage, passing stories down through the generations so they have an anchor to people and the land.

I love Aotearoa New Zealand. I hope you do, too. in Part 3, we’ll travel the 309 Road.

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