New Zealand Trip - The Road to Coromandel

We were originally going to take my parents to Uluru, so timed my parents' visit to the cooler months in the Red Centre.  When I started looking at hotel prices in Ayers Rock I got serious sticker shock and started thinking about a plan B.  Jetstar had really good fares to Auckland around that time and so we ended up headed to New Zealand.  Unfortunately this meant that it was a bit cooler than we would have liked but that didn't stop us from showing my parents how amazing that country is.

We started out by walking up Mt Eden in Auckland.  It's apparently the highest volcano in Auckland (there are quite a few).  It was a short hike to a big crater covered in green, and then just a bit further to the top.  There we were rewarded with a great view of the city and several of the other volcanoes in the area.
Looking across the crater to the op of Mt Eden
My parents and I with Auckland in the background
The surrounding town
After that we headed South and down the coast along the Firth of Thames (in case you're wondering, a firth is an estuary or narrow inlet of the sea).  It was a beautiful drive through bright green farmland and then along the coast.  The water was my favourite shade of turquoise with just a few puffy clouds to accent the blue sky.
Pretty Firth
And not a bad estuary either
We stopped at the Cheese Barn in Matakoki for lunch.  I'm always a sucker for cheese, but as an added bonus we also got visit with the resident alpacas.  I was very excited to see them... until I tried to pet one and he bit my arm!
This dude tried to eat me!

We hit the road again and headed North towards Coromandel.  We enjoyed some beautiful views of the coastline along the way.
This scenery makes my mouth water
We stopped at a view point just up the road from Coromandel and got to see the islands dotting McGregor Bay.  How I wished I had a helicopter or a boat to explore them more!
Look at those beautiful islands in the background
Making Phil smile for a picture
In Coromandel we road on the Driving Creek Railway.  It was a little train built by a crazy guy with more money than sense.  He originally built it as a way to get clay down the hill to make pottery with, but when he ran out of money the bank suggested he let others ride it and charge admission.

Four tickets to ride the crazy train
The point where the train stops and switches direction
 At the end of the track had a viewing platform and we got to look out on the bay from another direction.
View from the top of the train track
Tunnel made from brick made from clay from the mountain
Train Selfie!
 On the way back to the car we got chased by these crazy ducks.  Talk about a weird place!
Chasey chasey
 That night we stayed at an AirBnB in the area.  After a storm earlier that week they found a little orphaned lamb and ended up adopting him as a pet.  I got to give him his dinner bottle, he was an eager little thing!  
Feeding Minty his bottle
Minty the Lamb
 Their property was full of trees starting to blossom.  Just a couple days from Spring, the crisp air, the lamb, and the blooms were a beautiful hint of the season to come.  What a beautiful area of the country - I would love to go back and explore it some more.


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