A truly horrible night spent in a horrible hotel, these guys did NOT get a favourable review on Trip Advisor! Too hot, too noisy, we were awake and could not sleep so we left early. Sadly it turns out they also had bed bugs, as we came in so late, we neglected to check the bed, it takes a day or so for the full reaction to happen, but I was by then covered in bites all over my arms, feet and face and I look red puffy and like small burns scars all over me…not pleasant!
We headed out to the Old Cement Works, old dilapidated buildings are few and far between in New Zealand, being such a young country they do not have the truly historic buildings of say Europe, but unlike Australia, I guess they either don’t abandon buildings often or they pull them down and rebuild, or they fix them up to be habitable, the few we did find, we of course photographed, there is beauty in decay, after all. The Cement works was a fabulous place and so cool and quiet in the early morning, with no-one else there. Must be a great swimming spot for the locals when it is hot.
We then back to the Dish for some more shots and a wander around, most private property, so we could go in or get far.
Finally, we decided it was time for breakfast and then headed off to the Coromandel Peninsula a few hours away. Saw some breathtaking scenery as we drove up and over the mountains with the bay finally coming into view before us. We booked into our hotel and then headed out to explore. We heard about the Driving Creek Railway and drove up there for the late afternoon train ride and a quick wander around. Click on the link to read more on this fascinating spot.
This is the dream of Potter Barry Brickell who started this project in 1973, building 3km of this incredible narrow-gauge railway track in very steep bushland, mostly by hand! We hopped on board the little train for a most enjoyable and informative 1-hour train trip up the mountain to the Eye-Full Tower for amazing views out over the bay. It was also lovely and cool in amongst the trees, filled with hand made tunnels and various sculptures and large pottery pieces along the track. Sadly it was fairly dark and the train a little too fast and often extremely difficult to obtain good photos while the train was moving.
We then headed back into Coromandel Town for the most fabulous dinner at Umu and organised our boat tour for the next day. This time we did more research and picked a small craft that held no more than 16 passengers, the skipper was also a photographic enthusiast and offered special photographic tours of the Bay, the Cove and out to the Marine Reserve…just what we wanted!
We then headed back to our fabulous little hotel room, which had a private deck overlooking the bay and spent it shooting our first real sunset, not overly amazing, but still a very nice way to end the day.