Sunday, April 17, 2011
This weekend we went to a family wedding that was held in Whitianga, on the Eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula. I’ve never been there before, in part because it’s a bit of a mission to get there from Auckland.
The fastest route includes an hour or so (it feels like hours) of a twisting, turning, rising and falling road that climbs up and over the Coromandel Ranges. Apparently, this becomes a slow, torturous crawl of cars during the high season (around Christmas/New Year’s). Still, road aside, it’s one of the most beautiful regions of the country and almost enough to drive away memories of how awful the road is. Put another way, I can see why people would put up with it.
That road gave me the chance to joke about how, in America, hills would’ve been knocked over or tunnelled through to make a straight road, but I was only joking—more or less. Still, the road could be improved.
The town itself is a pleasant beachside community, with a lot of businesses catering to holidaymakers. There are ample motels, rental houses, cafes and other businesses tourists need, plus the usual amenities for the year-round residents. Much of focus for tourists is the area near the marina, which is a nice, upscale area. However, I think the very long beach is a better feature—and I’m not even a fan of going to the beach for a day.
I won’t say much about the wedding itself because I don’t talk about other family members without their permission or knowledge, however, I’ll say that it was meant to be on a beach about 20 minutes from Whitianga, but Saturday was a stormy day with strong winds and driving rain, so at the last minute it was moved to a covered venue nearby. It was still nice, despite the weather.
Today was the day that yesterday should have been: Sunny, pleasant and with light breezes. I waited until today to snap photos, and it was the right choice. The photo above was taken at the beach at Mercury Bay, Whitianga, looking toward the Pacific. The photo below is looking along that beach. I uploaded a couple more photos in a photoset on my Flicr account. You can also click on these photos for bigger versions.
Apart from the drive, and especially the horrible weather on Saturday, it was a nice weekend in a part of the country I haven’t been to before. I don’t know when, or even if, I’ll make it back there, but I’m glad I was able to see it. This country is packed full of beautiful places, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of the many I haven’t yet been to.