Paku Summit Walk
We had a lazy morning and mooched around Whangamata and of course visiting the local bakery once again. Very tasty treats!! I also tried, once again to do internet stuff which resulted in only more frustration and a waste of time and money. Have no fear; we will not give up on my endeavours to continue posting these pieces of literary magic!!
After lunch at the Bach, we headed to Tairua and the Paku Summit Walk. This was a steep hike to the summit but well worth the effort for the amazing view from the top. Unfortunately we left one camera behind at the Bach and the other was mistakenly put on the wrong setting so the number of photos we took was limited and does not do the 360⁰ view justice, but here are a few pics anyway. The view from the top was down onto the coastal town of Tairua and then of course out to the ocean. There were a number of islands off shore, one of which was call “Penguin” island. Just had to take a picture of Gwen with this island since penguin is her nickname!
Claire and Gwen finished their day off with a nice long walk along the beach at Whangamata at sun set. They really enjoyed the sight of the tide coming in as well as beach combing.
Paku Summit Walk
Thursday July 15
This morning we left the Bach at 9:30am (this is quite an accomplishment given that there is only one bathroom and 8 people!!) and headed to the town of Waihi. This town’s central industry is gold mining. We toured through a museum explaining the history of mining in the town and also the current method of mining. Some of the fascinating facts that we learned: One tire on the mining trucks cost a whopping $11,000!! Also, one truck load of quartz would result in the harvesting of the equivalent of, at maximum, 10 tablespoons of gold. You would think that with numbers like this that this mine would be running a deficit. In actuality they produced a million dollars worth of gold each week. Not too shabby!!! Once educated about the working of a mine, we then headed over to the active open pit mine to see the whole mining operation for ourselves. Because it is a working mine you cannot get down into the actual mine but people are able to walk the whole perimeter of the open pit mine. As we walked this perimeter we were able to watch people at work in the mine. Of course from our vantage point the people and cars looked very small! As we walked and watched, we were lucky enough to get a chance to watch them blast a section of the mine to loosen the quartz for transport. Yes, the earth did shake beneath our feet, no a nugget of the golden rock did not fall at our feet!
After a lunch in the park we headed over to the Waihi beach and the location of the start of our hike to Orokawa beach. This 2 hour hike brought us to an absolutely beautiful beach that we had virtually to ourselves. The kids climbed in the trees, played tag with the waves and enjoyed the freedom of a beach all to themselves. The adults strolled, chatted and simply took in the majesty of the beauty around them. Moments like these on a beach definitely does rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.
When we returned to the Bach, we discovered a water leak due to a broken pipe that required professional involvement. Staying at the Bach was no longer possible due to the lack of water thus we quickly packed up and made our way to Tauranga, the Cronsberry’s home town. Gwen did her first night driving in New Zealand----driving in NZ is already a challenge due to the windy roads, and of course being on the wrong side of the road and the wrong side of the car. Driving at night through the Coromandel mountain range is a whole other story. Needless to say, we all arrived at the Cronsberry’s home safe and sound.
Friday July 16
We went for a walk around the base of Mt. Maunganui in the morning. It was very crowded compared to almost every other thing we have done so far. It was an easy 3km hike with very little change in elevation; the summit hike will wait until we are back in NZ after Australia. While walking around the base, I saw this
It made me laugh, I thought BP was more concerned about profit than a clean enviornment.
We got back to the Cronsberry home for lunch and it started to rain. We cannot complain though, because we have had fantastic weather. During a break in the rain we abandoned Tim so that he could make a carrot cake, which by the way was quite good, and toured around the Jack’s school yard. The school is made up of a number of buildings and they were arranged in such a way that the school felt like a small community. They have a large playground which includes a rugby pitch, obstacle course, basketball nets and more.
Saturday July 17
Our last full day with the Cronsberrys We have enjoyed immensely our time with the Cronsberrys and are grateful for their expertise and friendship in a foreign country. We would probably have spent a lot of time lost in traffic if not for their guidance. We would have not enjoyed our first two weeks as much as we did without them here to vacation with us.
Our day started with a few errands, and then we went to the Papamoa Hills. There is a ‘pa’ at the top of the hill which is a lookout the Maori used to spot rival tribes that may be approaching. They apparently would cover one side of the hill with shells to act as an alarm of approaching enemy. The hill took 45 minutes to walk up and it was a steep incline with one or two short spots of relief. At the top we had another 360 degree view. This is the first time I actually saw flat land in New Zealand.
We will be leaving for Auckland early in the morning and will then be flying to Cairns, Australia the next morning, so don’t know when we will be having access to the internet next. Keep checking back and the next thing you will see will likely be Australia.
What Is It?
I’ve never seen the two buttons for flushing the toilet, but it is everywhere here in NZ. Congrats to all who knew what they were. Well I don’t seem to be fooling many so far with my What Is It photos, and this might not be any tougher, so I will only award points for those that are close. Tree is not good enough!!!
Well I took this picture at the first Bach in Russell and we found many of these around also.