Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Fringed with cormorants

Driving the rocky west coast of Coromandel fortified by raspberry and lemon curd muffins we noticed the rocks were spikier than usual. In some bays every rocks is occupied by a line of cormorants, side by side... And the cliffs are colourful with drifts of pink and purple and yellow and blue flowers. Out to sea are regular black spots: the buoys holding the ropes of the mussel farms. On every beach are locals, picking up mussels that do it the old fashioned way. And us, looking at pretty mussel shells...

We stopped on a ridge with views down to a green cove and over to a wide estuary and beyond to a scattering of islands. Looking over at the mainland in the Auckland direction we saw - Auckland, tall towers and the Sky City tallest of all.

Through Coromandel town and up to Driving Creek ( to walk in the sculpture garden and gaze at the glass furnace and ride on the little articulated train through replanted rimu and rata and kauri, up and round and round and up. Like a miniature Roaoring Camp. Driving Creek has two spirals, a double viaduct, three tunnels (one with a terracotta mural), five reversing points and embankments made of stacked bottles, plus the Eyeful Tower at the top (based on the Bean Tower off Auckland). Charmingly eccentric railway, wonderful to see the trees planted.

Down the road a little to the Driving Camp cafe where we had pumpkin spinach blue cheese filos with peach rhubarb sultana chutney and coffee and cake in the garden gazebo watching quail in a tree. To Whitianga by the alternative road, the 309 - past Castle Rock and the Waiui falls. We walked up to the kauri grove with twin kauri fused at the base, stopped at 309 honey to buy manuka honey from two charming young girls, paused to skip stones in the river and then in to Whitianga. Picked a motel with a spa bath, and now we're at Tuatua for dinner. Mussel fritters, sage gnocchi, duck, spare ribs, saffron rice, kumara, chocolate liqueur cheesecake, chocolate ice cream affogogato, yo sweetness (baileys kahlua creme de cacao cream and at least two more things of that ilk), st clair pinot fris (perky), seresin gewurtz (fragrant and rich), grant burge miamba syrah (tasty tannins and fruity), main divide cab merlot (rich and fruity with nicley lip puckering tannins late in the glass) and an anonymous but good botrytis riesling. Fireworks mostly background over dinner but we saw a few late showers of spangly stars and the moon mysterious through pine branches. Hic!

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