We had tried to find some motel minding work to occupy ourselves in the depths of winter. But without success. We’d tried every motel in the Bay of Plenty and Hamilton. The only interest had been from places where we’d have needed to be available for later stints as well – more regular sort of minding. There was no takers for one-off minding assignments. So we had some time to ourselves before needing to be south by mid-August. The Coromandel called, and we didn’t take much persuading.
So late in June we hitched the car up and headed to Hikuai. That’s via the Kopu to Hikuai Road. This road only got pushed through in the 1960s and somewhere I’ve got a photo of us kids somewhere up the road while it was still being constructed – on a Christmas road-trip north in the mid-1960s – revisiting our birthplace in Thames. By a lovely coincidence, Wyn’s Mum probably went home from being born in Thames to Hikuai on a horse over the trail from Kopu to Hikuai. The previous time we went over the road in February Wyn was driving so I got to ogle the scenery. The vistas heading down the other side are spectacular – if fleeting. The Coromandel Ranges are very rugged and steep. This time I drove and Wyn got to sightsee.
From Hikuai we kept going north, to Whitianga, and then on to the next bay north at Simpsons Beach. Here we were allowed to stay on part of the Simpson’s land, right beside the beach. We have stayed here a couple of times before and it is one of our favourite places in the country – not least because of the generosity of the Simpsons. It was almost dark when we parked up. We woke up next morning to sun and beach – it doesn’t get any better. The beach beckoned so we headed off for a walk to the far end of the beach and back. Nothing too strenuous.
Later in the afternoon we took the car into Whitianga for a bit of a wander around and explore. In a gallery I enjoyed seeing some of Peter Latham’s photographs but best of all I liked reading his philosophy. He doesn’t mind manipulating his photos – to get them back to what he saw in his mind when he was taking them. None of this stuff about having to capture it right first time stuff. Jeez, some of the purists wouldn’t even have allowed cropping. Their cropping tool was their camera! Some of that perfectionism seems to have carried over to digital photography which seems to me to miss the point and opportunities of digital photos. I’m with the concept of adjusting to what I saw with my eye. Or to what I’d like to have seen with my eye. That’s what a landscape painter does and that’s what I want to be able to do. Watch this space…
We had a walk around and watched the ferries zipping across the Whitianga Harbour (a very short distance – maybe a decent 3-wood?) and headed back via Buffalo Beach – the main Whitianga Beach – to Simpsons Beach and Suzi motorhome.
Gallery of photos – Whitianga – Coromandel June 2012
Click on thumbnails to see full size. (And then you can click through them)