Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Cathedral Cove (again) and Broken Hills

After a hearty breakfast prepared by Jill and Graeme, we set out for our second hike to Cathedral Cove. We decided to make another trip there because it was so beautiful the first time, and also we awoke to sunny day today, and thought it would contrast nicely with yesterday's gray and cloudy trip. On the way up to the track, we saw one of several rainbows that we've been treated to on the Coromandel Peninsula:

The hiking track and Cathedral Cove did look different with sun, blue sky and puffy, white clouds overhead:

For our afternoon, we decided to head south this time to the Tairua area, since we'd already covered Whitianga the previous day. At our B&B we read about a hike through a former gold-mining area with a long mining tunnel included on the track and decided that it would be the perfect final tramp for our New Zealand adventure. Here is me at the start of the track:

We don't have any good pictures of the climb up the mountain because it was very steep, and we were concentrating on our footing amongst the slippery roots, and conserving energy. The highlight of the hike was a 500 meter long tunnel that was formerly used by the miners, and connected two parts of the track. Here is Dylan by the sign at the entry:

The tunnel was long, narrow, damp, and very dark inside. We were equipped with our torch (flashlight), but was still a bit scary when we turned around and could not see the light behind us or ahead of us anymore. We walked single-file through the tunnel for about 15 minutes, and took some time to clown around a bit for the camera. The flash on the camera makes the tunnel look lit, but the only actual light on the trip was our torch and the occasional glow worm. I think we were both relieved to see the light on the other side - 500 meters is a long way to go in the dark!

After the tunnel, it was all downhill to the car park. We zipped through that part of the hike, because the sky had turned gray. As soon as we made it back to the car, the rain started - our timing was perfect! We drove back to Tairua, and stopped in town for a bite to eat at a very cute and funky cafe:

From Tairua, we stopped briefly to view a few Kauri trees by the side of the road before returning home for a relaxing afternoon at the B&B.

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