The book advises me to visit the Gold Mining Experience, but it's closed for work so bang goes that idea. Instead, I get on what turns out to be a outstanding highway along the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula, following every twist and turn of the coastline. On this bright and sunny day it's a wonderful drive. It takes about an hour of enjoying the switchbanks and scenery to get to the hippie central that is Coromandel.

The attractions here are somewhat gentler than in previous days. Happily I've arrived in town just in time for a departure of my first one.

The Driving Creek Railway was created by the right sort of eccentric. Barry Brickle is a potter in Coromandel who decided to build a narrow gauge railway out towards a deposit of clay on his property. Over the years, he forgot to stop building it and it became a multi-mile private railway with roughly one passenger. Happily, it's now open to the punters and good fun it is too.

It's a clanky, narrow train running on biofuel, slowly hauling us all up the hill to the "Eyefull Tower" at the top. It's all cheerfully laid back and good natured. The whole endeavour now funds the artists' collective that Barry set up here.

Damn hippies.

I have lunch and shelter from a rain shower in a cafe which I don't notice is vegetarian until too late.

Damn hippies.

And finally, the Waterworks, an open air collection of contraptions somewhere between Art, Science and Silliness.

Then I escape from the artists back down the coast road and back across to Auckland to finish my North Island trip.

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