What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?
Cliff Richard sang "Summer Holiday", and I've just been on one of those. There's your tenuous link for the day.
HERE IS A MAP.
We went to a place called Shelly Beach, just north of Coromandel. As we are spoiled by previous ownership of a campervan (and anyway, we have no big tent), we stayed in cabins. They are much easier to put up in the pissing-down rain, not that there was any.
Shelly Beach is aptly named, although it might also be called Very Shallow For Miles Beach, or perhaps It's A Long Way To The Water At Low Tide Beach. Neither of these are complaints, it's a great place, especially for small kids.
Much to the chagrin of my sister-in-law, I enforced the use of our old Primus camp stove to boil water for cups of tea, despite the availability of an electric jug about four metres away. Gotta at least pretend we're camping, right?
I found the Viking inflatable dinghy (wonder if it was made by these guys?) in its bag in our garage before we left, so after a quick inflation test, we took it to the beach with us. It gave sterling service, I got very sore arms from rowing it about the place, and the kids absolutely loved it.
This thing was bought for me (and presumably my brother) for christmas 1979.
I biked over to Coromandel a couple of times, the second time I also went up Driving Creek Road. This is just to the north of Coromandel Town, and runs across to the other side of the peninsula. It is a metal road (i.e. gravel) in the classic NZ style - buchs-clad, lots of sharp, cambered corners, and great stepth©. Biking up it was pretty slow, bottom gear all the way, no more than about 8 km/h.
A weird thing comes over me on roads like that, though. Even though it's bloody hard work, I'm constantly saying to myself, "I'll just go round that next corner, then I'll turn round and go back down." I didn't record it, but I must've gone at least a couple of km, and probably about 200m up before I finally turned around and went down again.
Going down a metal road on an old hardtail mountain bike isn't quite as much fun as I'd thought, especially when you're never sure if a car's coming around the next corner or not. Corrugations, annoying in a car, induce blinding blurriness on a bike.
We also visited the Driving Creek Railway, which I have gone on about at length before. Suffice to say it lived up to and even exceeded my expectations, and is highly recommended.
We twice visited the Driving Creek Cafe, just down the road. They are organic as an organ, and the only thing even vaguely close to meat was the baby goat weeding the garden. Pretty wicked nice food though, I even had a tempeh burger (in the process finding out what tempeh actually is).
The staff there all appear to be young hippies, and are all incredibly happy about everything. In this cold world, it's a little unnerving at first, but actually becomes rather infectious.
Pleasingly enough, they also had a good range of the Teatotal teas, which I vastly prefer to even an excellent coffee.
We came back home refreshed as hell, and I feel ready to attack the new year. I'll let you know if/when this uncharacteristic positivity wears off.