Just love the Coromandel so we couldn't resist coming back for another visit. Earlier in the year we based ourselves in Coromandel Town on the west side, this time we stayed at Simpsons Beach just north of Whitianga on the east coast. My plan, with such close proximity to the beach was to get up early most days and catch the sun rising. This area has received more rain in the last few months than the locals can remember happening in decades and, unfortunately, it decided to carry on for most of our time there. On the plus side it did mean lots of times when I didn't get out of bed before the sun came over the horizon ;-)
Before we got to Whitianga we decided to have a few days in Thames so that we could go back to the fantastic Cafe Melbourne for lunch.......absolutely stunning organic food full of flavour :-). This time around we managed to find a disused wharf which made for a great photographic subject.
The whole area of Whitianga has amazing coastline. There are the obvious spots of Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, but, these are a little too popular for my tastes. When the weather did eventually give us a few days break it was time to go exploring which led us to the coastal road up and over the hill from Whitianga along to Opito Bay. Just locals, the sea and scenery......bliss.
From Whitianga it was time to make our way down to Waihi for a couple of weeks. We had been through the area a couple of times when we stayed at Paeroa earlier in the year and commented then that it looked like a nice town. From the experience we had I can confirm it really is a gem of a place with very friendly locals and the excellent Waihi Beach not far away. Plenty of walking to be had through the gorge, along the coastal cliffs and through the town taking in the various heritage sites of interest. If you are after some fresh local produce then a trip to the Sunday Market at Waihi Beach should be on the agenda.....do try the venison salami, wow!
It is a shame the weather while in the Coromandel didn't play nicer for us, but, it is time to move on and make our way down the east coast to be in Napier for Christmas.....the adventure continues, next stop Matata.
First day in ages we had some vague hope the sun might make an appearance......it didn't last long!
Disused wharf at Thames on an overcast day
In the two weeks we were at Simpsons Beach, Whitianga these trees went from no leaves to completely full, nature really is amazing
Windy walk
Light pollution is a simple fact of life so occasionally you just have to embrace it
A gentle day on Simpsons Beach watching the waves very gently break on the sand
As much as the constant rain is a pain, it does make for some moody images
Otipo Bay.....all ours
Otipo Bay
Erosion at Opito Bay
The only way to have peace and quiet at the stunning Cathedral Cove is to get there early....before the sun comes up!
Very little cloud made for a disappointing sunrise at Cathedral Cove, still worth it though, beautiful spot
Life on the road does mean occasionally sitting in launderettes, perfect excuse to try a bit of street photography
I was in this spot from about 4:30am, it was only as the light gradually increased I realised I had company :-)
Just a short drive east of Kuaotunu, which has the fantastic Luke's Kitchen, lies Quarry Point. This spot has some great rock formations
Staying on a farm does mean visitors. This gorgeous lamb was taking a rest just outside of our van. However, lots of sheep in the field did mean having to be careful where you walked ;-)
One of the few absolutely stunning blue skies at Simpsons Beach
The one early morning sunrise that did exactly what I was hoping for
One of those sunrises that started off great and just got better. That little bit of extra effort to be there at least 30 minutes before the sun gets over the horizon was well worth it.
Evening light on Simpsons Beach......so peaceful
A dedicated team work tirelessly to get this old piece of railway back to its former glory
These old carriages hadn't moved while we were there but apparently they will be restored one day
An hour before sunrise at Waihi Beach
Just moments before I got very wet as a rogue wave came in, made for great lines as the wave retreated though
Waihi is a former gold mining town and there are a few old buildings that hark back to its history to go and visit. This walkway takes you past a few places as you make your way up to look down into the open cast mine.
Water used to run down the street as run off from the mining operations and the residents would use this to do washing and bathe. There are various statues along the high street to commemorate the old times
Sun rising gave a lovely warm glow to the tracks
Waihi Beach is very popular with surfers, there were so many on this day I took a while to isolate just one for this image
Beautiful gardens in Waihi to walk around
End of a day ferrying passengers back and forth to Waikino. This engine was made on the other side of the world in Burton on Trent, England.....where I grew up!
This wagon is being restored as part of a project with a local college. The boys from that college are doing all the work under supervision of the team at Goldfields Railway so that they can learn new skills.
Feeling proud and looking forward to the day 'Thomas' makes his way back onto the tracks. 
Once this loco is restored it should be a big draw card to get visitors to the railway.
Inside the ruins of the Victoria Battery at Waikino
Our view for a picnic up on the hills of Bowentown looking back to Waihi
A calm day and bright sky gave a dramatic feel to this view out from the cliffs over Waihi Beach
Local produce from the Sunday Market at Waihi Beach. Runs every week from Labour Weekend to Easter and well worth a visit
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