Thursday, March 17, 2016

Coromandel trip 2016 - or - checking out paradise to chill out in

Thursday, March 17, 2016
oldbearnews editor

Thursday 17 March

Well - after 10 days - we had to come home - not that we wanted to! Especially when we heard the temps down in Christchurch! Sighs - still we have to - if nothing else just to earn the $$$ to be able to buy a house up here in the future!!
Anyhow - usual up and brekkie, then came the hard part - packing the suitcase - along with the extras we gained (2 bottles of liquid and about 15 or so sea-shells and also not forgetting mamabears purple extras!!!)
We had to drop the key back to the camping ground and soon found out that we did had a bit of rain overnight - 80ml in just 2 hours!! I knew - I lay awake during most of it - considering the NOISE on the roof and what it would do to the Road conditions! The camping ground already was flooded - about 30cm deep (a foot to you non-metric folks).

rain radar map from our travel day -
blue and purple indicate cold ergo - heavy rain

Got to the petrol station and the lady there half guessed where we were heading and advised that the road south was closed due to flooding!  We have seen the road markers for the last few days going past them - they are colour coded in order of depth - to indicate how deep the water was running and if there was still safe passage possible.  Nothing like in Queensland of course - but still - NOT letting you go through or past. 
We had already decided to go the long way home  I F  the weather had been fine - now we had no choice!! Hmmm do you think we would get away with an extra night here claiming road closures? ? ? ? ?
Anyhow - it was an exciting trip round the long way - LOTS of water on the road and the occasional rock-slide.   At times we had a 2-5 meter wide and about 2-4 cm deep river running across the road.  As long as it was clear water we were good - once it gets discolored brown - you almost can count on rocks and or mud following the water! 

The impossible happened  which I was 100% sure it could and would never happen - we were forced to follow a motorcyclist round the bends - in FIRST gear! Talk about over cautious driving!!  Eventually he saw the wisdom and went into a lay-by and let the 14 cars banked up behind him pass.  Once we were on the west-side of the peninsular the rain eased of but still wet and miserable and you could never be sure if there was a rock-slide waiting for you around the next corner.  Made it to Thames by lunchtime and decided to have another of the Colonel's chickens only to hear on their internal radio broadcast that BOTH (and there are only two) roads from Whitianga are closed due to mudslides! The town is cut off!!!
It must have happened 10 minutes ( no less) after we went past a particular spot!!! Guess we were very lucky!  Urm - Bugger  :)
Very Lucky indeed!  I think Mamabear is still having kittens when she remembers this particular drive!

Below are two news articles we found once we got home - seems it just did rain a bit!!
Of course - given the right conditions in New Zealand anywhere - it can rain up to 300ml in a day!!! Or more!!  As one tourist in Franz Joseph recently described it - it is like the fire fighters are using their hose to dowse the roof!!! The lady in the shop at Franz Joseph once remarked that "it can rain so heavy that you cannot see the store across the road" -  some 25 meters away!!!  Awesome to see - freighting to contemplate!

We had a bit of spare time so stopped at the Thames gold mine,  and took the tour! They take you "20" meters underground (I am sure it was more then that) and show you how the gold was mined previously! There is more gold there - it is just locked up inside the rocks and you need to crush them first before you get ever so tiny wee specks of yellow dust!  Still if the Gold price jumps a few % points upwards - it could be economically worth re-opening the mines.
Historically speaking Thames once was the largest town in New Zealand - for a short time only - that is - until the gold run out!

From there it was onwards to the Airport and a short plane ride back home to cold wet drizzly Christchurch!  Saw our PM coming out the gate!!
Hihihihi also one of the executive drivers doing a pick-up of a passenger had a sign up for CHER!!!! hmmmm surely not?!?!??

  Anyhow - thus finished our trip north! Plenty of ideas for retirement and when my sister comes for a visit.  Sounds like we will get back there next year - LUCKY us!!!! yusssssss

It does look better in sunshine!!!!

The hard work underground depicted via models

The tunnels are not particular tall - so suitable for shorter persons - and - note - NO safety helmets!!!!

Hard rock - granite - and all extracted by hand and hammer

hmmmmm - you know - perfect for a wine-cellar!!!!!

Cyah next year Whitianga!!!!

Have fun! bear print

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