Awoke to a nice day in Coromandel and after a cheapskate breakfast (Up & Go, coffee and an apple) headed for Driving Creek Railway for the 10:15 departure. This was short drive from the Anchor Inn Motel (nice) where I stayed.
I thought I had been here as a kid (but my Dad later reckoned not) but certainly had seen both the railway and its remarkable creator, Barry Brickell, on arts and tourism documentaries. He died earlier in 2016 but left plenty of evidence of how talented, dedicated and, a bit, crazily devoted he was to his dream. It started as a way for Barry to get clay for his pottery but became NZ’s most popular train ride.
The narrow gauge trains wind 165m up the hill traversing 22 hectares of regenerating bush. Not only did Barry design and build the track, the engines and carriages are also his work.
Embankments of stacked wine bottles (proudly) emptied on site in his frequent ‘railway build parties’.
Train at the “Eyefull Tower” station, the summit of the railway.
The “Eyefull Tower” is a place for functions and to take in spectacular views over Coromandel Harbour & the Firth of Thames.
Barry’s solution to a lack of space and need to climb, a double deck viaduct!
Drive between Coromandel and Waihi is awesome, 2nd/3rd gear winding road for kilometres. Did a loop around Matarangi, wanna be Pauanui, and the real Pauanui. Had changed a quite a bit since my last visit. Some photos from the drive from Coromandel, Matarangi, Whitianga and on to Whakatane.
As I drove towards Whakatane the weather got worse; high wind and eventually heavy rain.
Continuing the theme of doing things I haven't done for decades, KFC for dinner! A 1/4 pack is still about 1/4 Salt, Carbs, Fat and maybe a bit of chicken but once every 20 years is probably OK.
Not sure why you have a “Tuscany Villas” in Whakatane but it was in a great location, nice room, and alongside a Ducati Duodesmo bike and Vespa the Fiat seemed at home!