Thirty Seven Days On North Island 5
21 January 20
Posted at 6:58
So on Monday 20th January, day 6 of our 37, we left Coromandel, ‘Coro’ I’ve been advised it is referred to, to make the journey to Hawkes Bay. We are to stay in a small place called Clive, just south of Napier. Here’s a pic of Coro as we left, why on earth leave? I hear you say.South of Coromandel Town
First challenge of the day is to negotiate the 55km series of ups and downs and hairpin bends between Coro and Thames, all the time trying to concentrate on the road and not the spectacular views of the ocean on the left. Thames meant filling up with gas (for the guzzler that many back home have criticised me for!) and a much needed coffee. From Thames to Napier should have been pretty straightforward. We would go south via Rotorua and lake Taupo, both popular destinations for visitors to North Island but not on our itinerary. We did Rotorua about twenty five years ago and weren’t overly impressed and as you will find as our journey unfolds we have chosen an eclectic bunch of places to visit, not all first on the average tourist’s list. We went via Rotorua because Europcar suggested we call into their office there and change our vehicle for one with a functioning sat nav. If you read earlier blogs you will know the story. So we made that diversion, and it was a diversion, to visit the Europcar office at Rotorua airport. It is a small airport and not busy. In fact so quiet Emma, the Europcar rep at their office had shut up shop and left a notice “leave return keys in box” phone Emma in case of urgency. That’s how I knew her name! I wasn’t convinced my need was urgent and I had convinced myself there was no way Emma would have a Holden Arcadia DBs of a V6 4WD ready to exchange for mine with the dodgy sat nav. Never the less I called her, in fact I called all three numbers on the notice to no avail. Europcar have not endeared themselves to me yet!
For anyone who has not visited New Zealand you will have no doubt heard it compared to the UK of the 1950s. Such comparisons are understandable I guess especially a few years ago but are a bit unfair today. There are though many aspects of life here that are strange compared with the UK in 2020. Roads trips are one. The population of NZ is below 5 million yet the land mass is 268,000 sq km (compared with 246,000 sq km for the UK). So here there is a lot of space and not many people. Not many roads and they are not very busy (except around Auckland). This all means that for a 450km journey as ours was yesterday (includes Rotorua diversion) the journey is solely on single carriageway roads, no dual carriageways, no motorways. Now I guess that’s not been the case in the UK since the 1950s. The route from Taupo to Napier is about 140km through endless forest plantations between two mountain ranges. There are no towns or even villages and there are no petrol stations for 130km but every 30kms without fail there are charging points for electric vehicles, nothing else just charging points in the wilderness. I’ve not seen an electric vehicle since we’ve been here and not seen anyone using the charging points. Anyway respect to the Kiwis for getting the infrastructure in at the beginning!
It was not until the very last leg of the journey when the absence of a sat nav became an issue. A new expressway had been built between Napier and Hastings but was not on our map. (expressway is just a straighter single carriageway road). It was signed as R2 which is the same number as the road on our map, R2 which goes straight through our destination Clive. The express way doesn’t so we overshot by about 10km before we realised. Tired after the long journey I invested in a days data on my phone and arrived here in a flash.
Clive is a very small town with a pub, a Thai restaurant and a chip shop all a short walk from our little cottage (they are called bachs here). There’s no way we were cooking last night so after being greeted by our hosts and unpacking we made for the pub. As we arrived, about 6:30pm, it was just closing but they said we could get something at the Thai. Arriving there it was also closed as was the chippy. It would appear that Clive closes on Mondays. On a positive note they are all open for the rest of the week and on Thursday nights there is Texas Holdem poker in the pub – home from home!
Other than Mondays being come down day it is lovely here. From the rear of our property is a river along which a short walk takes you to the Pacific Ocean and there are cycle routes to Napier, Havelock North and Hastings and most important an array of wineries.
The Pacific Ocean and black beaches just a short walk from where we are staying in Clive.