On the Road to Coromandel-1

It was in Auckland that we learned a valuable lesson about breakfast. When given the choice between a $35 buffet breakfast in our hotel (The Grand Mercure) or walking 5 blocks to pay $25 for a full breakfast, it became time to look for an alternative. Unlike midtown Manhattan, we found it impossible to locate a simple coffee shop for a $10 or $15 breakfast. Since none of us needed or wanted a large breakfast, we decided not to be snobs and had breakfast in the McDonalds just around the corner from the hotel entrance and opposite an excellent local coffee stand. It was my first ever Egg McMuffin.

It was decent and well worth using it again for morning fuel the next day as we prepared to undertake the second long drive in three days. This time we were headed around the Coromandel Peninsula to ummm.. Coromandel! It promised to be a day of fascinating and varied scenery. The weather was overcast, with some moisture, but it was not very much and, I believe, it was the worst weather day we had the entire trip.

The drive was fascinating and a lot of fun once we started on the coastal roads around the peninsula. The heavy overcast added some depth to the scenery. As is the norm for New Zealand, the stated speed limits are often 100kph (60+mph), but that *rarely* happens., especially on the coastal roads.

Generally driving time is 1½ to 2 times what you might expect given the distance. And that doesn’t take into account construction and road-repair delays. Besides, you keep having to stop for pictures.

When we were in Iceland, our guide, Sig, told us of a pair of Indian (as in India) photographer-tourists who relayed their story of trying to get to a tiger habitat to do a shoot. One of them was photographically intrigued and attracted to vultures. Every time he would spot one, he’d shout “Vulture!” and they’d stop for photos. There were a lot of vultures on the road to the tigers. “Vulture!” stops were frequent. Suffice it to say, they never made it to the habitat. But they did get a lot of vulture pics.

We tried to learn from that and limited our “vulture-stops” a bit… (but it wasn’t easy!)

So. Pictures! When we think trees, we usually think of symmetry. Not exclusively here. The coastal tree below is not so unusual, but the tree on the hill, while near the coast, is most definitely very different than anything that I’ve run across!

These next two are more oyster farms. The second was taken by iPhone.

And this last one is a panorama with our companion trying to figure out how to best capture a shot!


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