I guess I will start off by briefly introducing myself. My name Corinne and I am from Texas. I have been in New Zealand for about 5 months now and I am absolutely loving it. I have been working in Auckland for a small technology company where I have been helping with the marketing side of things. It is amazing how regular everything has started to feel and how easy it is to forget you are on the other side of the world. It is so important to take advantage of the time you have abroad though, and that is why I am happy to have met Oriol and that he invited me on a weekend road trip.
The adventure began the moment I walked out of the train station and saw Oriol with the hood of the van up and a discouraging look on his face. The car had completely ran out of oil. He was calling his friend and asking if it sounded like the engine was ok, but the consistent clicking sound did not lend us any good news. As we added more and more oil our hopes went on a little roller coaster. At this point Oriol had put in about 4L of oil and we were starting to see some oil on the dip stick but the engine was still not sounding great. We decided to drive across the street and see what a mechanic had to say about the situation. He informed us that it takes 5L for a car to go from completely empty to fine. We added one more liter and then we listened to the engine, and miraculously, the engine sounded as good as any old engine could. The mechanic gave us the ok and told us that the car should be fine for a road trip…. But would it?
The fact that we were starting to think that the trip in general wouldn’t be happening after things started going wrong made hitting the road that much more exciting. We were jamming out and getting pumped up for the day. Neither engine problems or terrible weather were going to keep us from having a good weekend… We stopped off at all sorts of places on our way. From beaches, to overlooks, to a Buddhist retreat. Yes, a Buddhist retreat. Oriol had heard about this place before, but it was still a surprise to see a huge Buddha while you are driving down such a remote road. We decided to stop in and see what it was like. There was a lady in the office that offered us some tea and let us relax in their library. It was a great place to have a break in a day of traveling and to visit with some of the other people that were staying at the retreat. After unwinding and warming up a bit, we decided to hit the road again.
It wasn’t long after the Buddhist retreat that our already winding road became a single-lane dirt road. At the last town we drove through we stopped and asked a lady if there were any short hikes along the way. We pointed on a map where we were heading and she said there is absolutely nothing up there. But that was exactly what we wanted, to be totally separated from the city and the hustle and bustle of everyday life. As we continued down the dirt road we were still stopping off at all sorts of places to take pictures and enjoy the views. At one stop everything was great great, the car was great, we were great, the weather was crap, but that was expected. At the next stop, maybe just 15 minutes later, we got out and realized that one of the front tires was completely flat. We had a spare tire, we had tools, but we had no jack. As unlucky as it may sound to have an engine issue and a flat tire in the same day, luck was truly on our side. This road we were traveling on was completely empty. We saw maybe two other cars the entire length, and it just so happened that one of them was parked maybe two minutes up the road. With the flat tire we drove up and parked by the truck. The men had been fishing down by the coast and were heading up for the day when we came by. We asked if they had a jack and not only did they have one but they got out in the rain and mud to help us change the tire. If they had not been there, I think we would have been hitchhiking the rest of the way.
At last, we arrived at the campsite at the very tip of the Coromandel. It was no surprise that we were the only ones there. Nobody else was wanting to fight that weather and those roads to get up to this remote area in the middle of winter. We found shelter in an abandoned fishing hut by the beach and made a gourmet meal of canned beans and spaghetti over the camper stove. Seeing as the sun set shortly after 5 and we had a big day ahead of us, we were in bed pretty early. Falling asleep to the sound of the rain, waves, and wind made for a very peaceful night.
Sunday morning, we woke up with the sun and had a marvelous breakfast of PB&J and instant coffee. We loaded up our day packs and were on our way. Minus a few short showers, we had perfect weather. The walk was 10km both ways and was absolutely gorgeous. We started out walking through some hills filled with sheep and cows. Then the track turned into a rainforest with coastal overlooks along the way… As the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words” so rather than boring yall with my insufficient descriptions, check out the amazing pictures that Oriol took.
It still fascinates me that this was just a two day trip. With everything that went wrong, we managed to have positive attitudes and the car survived. We named the car Oilliver as a constant reminder to check the oil because the engine is burning through it… One of the greatest things about traveling alone is all of the people you meet along the way. At the beginning of the trip Oriol and I were practically strangers. He is a great person to travel with and has the same adventurous spirit that I have. Thank you Oriol for the amazing weekend. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Check the pictures in the spanish post written by Oriol: http://under1000roofs.com/adventure-in-coromandel-coastal-walk/