For our last full day in the Coromandel Peninsular we thought we’d drive across to Coromandel Town. Having been been warned by Aussie Stu in our hostel that it was pretty small we approached with thoughts of a small yet bustling, picturesque seaside town.
Parking the car in the empty car park we walked passed the odd cafe, hardware store and corner shop, heading in what we assumed was the direction of the town centre. After walking a fair while and seeing nothing but grass and a school, we found an information point.
‘Excuse me can you please point us in the direction of the town centre’
A lot, perhaps too much, laughter followed this question and she informed us we had actually just walked through it. Those few buildings and shops were in fact the whole of Coromandel Town.
We walked up the high street in about 3 minutes and whilst it was lovely, perhaps not worth the hour drive it took to get there.
We instead grabbed a quick coffee and drove to the Driving Creek Railway.
Now this was brilliant. Despite arriving at the wrong time to actually ride the trains through the bush, we had a great time wondering around the completely deserted railway.
At this point lunch was on our minds, as it always is. Next door to the railway was the Driving Creek Cafe, a hippy vibe vegetarian cafe with great reviews.
Located in the middle of the bush with birds flying everywhere it really did feel like a safe haven in a Disney film. It was another glorious day so we sat outside with only the birds for company.
We had been told about the more scenic 309 Road by our hostel so we decided to take that route on the way home. This ‘road’ turned out to be a steep, windy gravel track through the mountains that, according to many reviews on tripadvisor, is ‘not for the faint of heart’. Brilliant.
Suddenly pigs! So many pigs all over the road. We can only assume we have reached Stu’s pigs.
‘Stu the pig man’ is one of the attractions of the 309 Road. He has hundreds of pigs, chickens and apparently peacocks. The best bit, these are Stu’s pets. They are not eaten or sold but live a happy life in the bush.
They are used to tourists feeding them so they quickly surrounded our car. Then a muddy figure appeared, bare footed, holding he smallest piglet I have ever seen. This could only be Stu the pig man.
After I cooed once at the baby pig he swiftly offered it to me. How could I refuse. However, wearing white was clearly a mistake on my part, muddy piglet trotters left me looking like I’d dribbled something down my front. Although after Stu admitted he had 10 piglets sleeping in his bed I felt marginally less grubby.
Stu was a lovely, if a little eccentric, character and we ended up chatting for a while, the not so subtle hints that we needed to head off clearly falling upon deaf ears.
Eventually we set off, pulling over again for 309’s next attraction Waiau Falls.
Having seen many many waterfalls during our travels here this one didn’t blow our minds, but being the geography nerd that I am, a waterfall is always appreciated.
The famous Kauri forests of New Zealand were our next and final stop. Little did we know we’d be seeing a LOT more of these trees before we left new Zealand.
Kauri trees are the largest species of tree in New Zealand standing at around 50m (165ft) tall. Kauri forests are also among the most ancient in the world.
We made it back to the hostel. We survived the 309 Road!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel seemed a good choice for tonight’s entertainment. Our whole hostel appartment of 4 settled down with popcorn for our final night in Coromandel.