Surprise Coromandel Adventure (and Shower)

We’ve never seen it rain as much as we have seen it rain today. Weirdly enough, we have never enjoyed the rain so much either!

It’s a good job we have prepared for this afternoon’s downpour by siliconing the leaks on the campervan roof this morning. (If you remember in a previous post, our last siliconing session was ineffective due to the substance refusing to dry in the damp weather. But this new stuff is waterproof).

Last minute Coromandel Adventure tour!

So what have we been up to? After a morning of travel writing work (using our data coverage with Skinny and using our phones as a WiFi hotspot has been our savior so far) and campervan maintenance, we get a phone call from Sarni at Coromandel Adventures asking if we would like to join her tour in half an hour’s time. Whaaattt?! Of course, we do!

Panic sets in as we rush to gather everything we need for this 1-2 hour tour, but we have no idea what to expect or where the hell we are going. It’s all about the “Coromandel Adventure”, right?!

As we are waiting for Sarnie to pick us up, we meet this awesome girl from the US, Caroline, who is joining us on the tour. She has been using Coromandel Adventures for her quick weekend stay in the Coromandel so that she could tick everything off her bucket list (and discover a few more surprises). We are picked up in the Coromandel Adventures van, joined by a Kiwi family from Auckland, and seem to be heading on a winding gravel road deep into a regenerating forest.

How has all this grown in 100 years?!

We are in awe of this forest for the entire drive. It is dense with tons of different species, as new and freshly green. What makes it more spectacular is when Sarni explained that this entire hilly area was stripped bare around 100 years ago. All of this had regrown in 100 years! Nature overrules here!

We park up at the entrance to a short hike to a kauri grove, something we are fairly familiar with as we visited another kauri grove just a few days ago in Thames. As soon as we get out of the van, the sound of thunder echoes its way through the forest and bouncing off the surrounding mountains. Luckily, Sarni had packed us some huge umbrellas, should the heavens open…

Robin getting his silicone on (again). Robin getting his silicone on (again).
Sandy giving us the ins and outs of kauri dieback. Sandy giving us the ins and outs of kauri dieback.
All we could see of the kauri under the intense rain! All we could see of the kauri under the intense rain!
Robin discovering his insole had shrunk. Robin discovering his insole had shrunk.

Why is there disinfectant in kauri forests?

We told you on our last kauri blog post how impressive these whopping great trees are in the Coromandel. However, we explain more about a disease that is killing these giants of the forest called, “Kauri Dieback” in our article Why is New Zealand so Fascinated with Kauri? Sandy explains all this to us and how important it is to disinfect your shoes at the shoe-cleaning stations found at the entrances to all kauri forest walks. This is to save the less and 1% of original kauri forest left after years of forestry in New Zealand.

We disinfect our hiking shoes, but, as we are about to begin the walk, the sky gets notably dark. Day seems to turn to night in an instant, and it looks like the Gods are about to piss on us…

Oh my God, we were soaking in seconds

Something about insane rainfall like this makes us super giddy though. It is hilarious walking around like we have wet ourselves and watching the forest transform with new rapid streams making their way down to the river.

Once we got to the kauri tree, we literally couldn’t look up to capture its full scale. It would be like staring up at a shower head while the water is running. At least we can still see its incredible width from under the sexy umbrella. (Refer to above image).

You know what would be perfect right now? A hot chocolate.

Now, we are going to run back to the van with Sarni driving us into town for a hot chocolate on her. Under the cover of the cafe, we wrapped up in a fleece blanket, hot chocolate in hand, and listen to Sarni’s whole wealth of knowledge on the kauri. We really underestimated how fascinating these trees are and the journey they go through to get to this size, (around 8 metres in diameter and 65 metres tall). Plus, hearing these stories from a passionate local compares to nothing else, (not even the words in our articles. We can only direct you to these awesome experiences).

The shrunken shoe incident of 2016

The tour comes to an end and the first thing we do is take a hot shower in our current stay, Coromandel Top 10 Holiday Park. We have to say, we are really impressed with how constantly clean the holiday park is. Every time we enter the bathroom or kitchen, even at stupid o’clock, the towels we have used have been replaced and all surfaces are shiny clean. Plus, Laura can’t wait to play on the “bouncy pillow”, kind of like a bouncy castle, before she leaves.

Back in the warm holiday park cabin, Laura decides to dry Robin’s hiking shoes first, remember the ones that were absolutely not waterproof on our last kauri hike,  with the hairdryer out of the goodness of her heart. But, not out of the goodness of her common sense. Turns out, it is very bad to leave a hairdryer blowing at full power inside a shoe for any more than 2-3 minutes… Robin’s insoles used to be a size 44. Now they are a size 24.

So, in conclusion, Laura is a moron and Robin now has to wear hiking shoes with no insoles until we find a store that sells such items.

To get over this unfortunate incident, we had a nice beer with Caroline, talking about our mutual obsession, the TV show, Survivor.

Let’s hope the rest of our stuff dries for tomorrow when we head out with Coromandel Adventures again on ANOTHER surprise tour! Wahoo!

Laura and Robin

Warming up as we get some local knowledge of the kauri forest
Warming up as we get some local knowledge of the kauri forest Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Want more?

We are having a blast in the Coromandel so far. Check out the highlights of this North Island region in Coromandel – Guide for Backpackers. So you don’t get caught out in the rain during a New Zealand hike, check out these backpacker essentials:

As usual, we are pinning our Coromandel highlights on HerePin, so you can travel to the places we have been. Also, get a load of our Facebook for more New Zealand travel tips.

See you tomorrow!

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