After a quick stop in Auckland to pickup some gear Jerry sent down to us, we continued down to the Coromandel Penisula. Our route took us up the West Coast for a beautiful drive to the township of Coromandel. Here we cooked our Thanksgiving dinner a few days to early by mistake. My dad and M's Mom have birthdays on the 25th of November (Happy B-day Jerry & Linda!!!), and a few years ago Thanksgiving fell on the same day. I guess since we really aren't using much of a calendar we just completely relied on past experiences instead of looking up which day the official T-Day was. DUH!!!!! We celebrated Monday (US time) instead of Thursday....Idiots!
Despite using a stove/oven that only worked on HIGH, we had a great dinner. The turkey was good, the stuffing sucked, and and the mashed sweet potatoes (called kumara in NZ) were interesting. In any event, we hope everyone back home had a great Turkey Day!!
We visited the Driving Creek Railway & Pottery the following day. Our friends Mac & Maureen apprenticed there back in the mid 70s. This place has become a big tourist attraction for the area because the eccentric owner regenerated over 10,000 new native trees (mostly Kauri) destroyed by early British logging operations. The railway through the forest to the top of the mountain was finished this year after 25 years of work. An Australian film crew was filming the completion of the railway for a TV documentary. Guess who rode the train smack dab in front of the cameras?? Yes...us. We were both having a bad hair day unfortunately and Dave was disappointed to not have been asked for a starring role in the film.. Pics to come.
We left Coramandel and drove to the west coast of the peninsula for a stop at a beach famous for its hot water beach. People come from all over at low tide to dig their own hot pool. Basically you dig a hole in the sand on the beach as close to a hot spot as you can (the steam gives the good spots away) and the hole fills with thermal waters. Dave did a great job digging our perfect little hot pool. It was SO hot that some folks were hardboiling eggs!! A whole slew of roudy German tourists started a mud fight which involved most of the surrounding tourists. FUN! We had a great time relaxing and hanging out with the other tourists. Our camping facility also had free thermal pools. We've had more than our fair share of these relaxing pools throughout our trip this month..