After having been pumped up with adrenaline because somebody knocked on our window at three o’clock in the morning (and people told us to be careful of robberies when camping up in the Northland), we drove the night through to the Coromandel Peninsula… and arrived just in time for sunrise! And a beautiful sunrise it was.
The Coromandel Peninsula is an attractive spot: There are mountains running along the middle of the peninsula, and idyllic beaches and coves along the shore. There use to be many Kauri trees here; none of them were spared from industrial processing. AND GOLD WAS FOUND, leading to two major gold rushes in this area from the 1850s to the 1880s, overriding the local Maori tribe… so what’s new?
Still this place seems untouched and unspoiled, probably due to government schemes. It feels isolated and the few towns (originally founded by gold-seekers) are small.
We drove along the Bay of Plenty. Worldwide every fourth kiwi fruit comes from here. We skipped the drive around the East Cape due to bad weather, something I‘d love to catch up on with Caroline. What I got to see of this area appealed to me; the combination of woods, rivers, and sea reminded me of the southern part of Sweden. Next we crossed the Gisborne area, where ‘Whale Rider’ was filmed.
Welcome to Napier! Ill-faith has befallen this city on the 3rd of February in 1931: A 7.9 earthquake destroyed it completely and killed 258 people. The phoenix which grew out of the cities ashes was stylish and familiar with the trend of its time: the complete city was rebuild in Art-Deco style, making it to one of the worlds most homogenous Art-Deco cities. Today the people appear easy going, hanging out in arty cafes. A lady on the street gave us tangerines because it was “Act-of-random-kindness-day”.