Paul and Lea planned a very tight itinery. From Auckland we headed northwest to the Kauri Forrest. First stop was the Kauri Museum.

 

Then enjoyed the tight twisty drive through the Waipoua Forrest, stopping to walk to see the oldest and largest of the remaing Kauri Trees. The little Mazda 3 we had hired was an absolute delight to drive. 6 speed manual and plenty of go with handling like a go cart. I haven't enjoyed driving so much in years.

 

Stopped for the night at Copthorne Resort, Omapere overlooking Hakianga Harbour. Sundowners before dinner on the deck of the guest house.

 

Next day more zoom zoom across to Opua, down the coast road back to Auckland then round the bottom of the Huraki Gulf to spend the night at Thames at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula.

Up early to walk Billy Goats Track in the Coromandel National Park

We walked up the pack horse track with steps carved into the solid rock to help the pack horses servicing the logging camps a hundred years ago.

 

The clouds were low and never lifted all morning so we never got a view of the Pinnacles, a feature of the area.

This was the best view we had then it was down the old tramway with some parts on a 1:2.5 gradient where a winch station used to lower the logs down into the valley.

Moved onto the Karangahake Gorge after lunch to do some more walks through this old gold mining area.

 

 

We were aiming for Roturua that night but fatigue set in so we stayed at Tauranga, close to the restaurant strip so we didn't have to walk much more that day

 

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