Chatty Michael at The BnB in Coromandel that I stayed at gave a running monologue throughout the continental breakfast that was on offer between 8&9. I tried at one point to make it a dialogue; however, that thought was well over-ridden.
I did manage to steer the conversation towards useful topic though. Michael Scott (no relation) was momentarily at a loss for monologue material when I mentioned that I was heading the milk capital of NZ, Hamilton, today. Obviously grasping for knowledge to impart, he settled to give me a blow-by-blow accounting of the waterfalls that I might see if I took the very, very long way to Hamilton. Useful.
Honestly more useful was his suggestion that I could see some amazing sights if I headed north to see Point Jackson. It would be paved road turning to hard-packed dirt for the last 25km. My day was hypothetically short so I wanted to add a couple of hours of riding-sightseeing.
The paved roads were decent but, like many of the roads in NZ, undergoing construction. In this case, it was what seemed to be about a kilometre of ball-bearings on the road. Super-slippery on a bike.
The one-lane dirt was almost welcome when it arrived. I quickly rationalized that I was “Working for Dad” as I had in mind to spread a little Dad at the north end of the Coromandel peninsula. It was a technical ride and, all in all, fun. Oddly coming back was easier.
When I hit Port Jackson, I saw that it was indeed worthy. The journey offered some of the most amazing vistas that I have seen and the beach at Port Jackson had a pleasant degree of tranquillity. Thus was Dad Resting Place #4 (NZ) determined.
I stopped at a recommended coffee shop at Colville on the way back south. A wee ham, cheese and tomato sandwich with Latte would put me in good shape to lunge to the interior south of Auckland.
My ride down the Coromandel was a mixture of “wow that is fun” turns and “damn you construction”. Mostly I was left with putting the Coromandel Peninsula on the list of excellent areas to ride. Big props.
I hit the secondary highways once I was off the peninsula and tracked a hither-tither path to what appears to be the milk capital of the north island. I passed two enormous milk gathering depots. I’m looking forward to my latte tomorrow already. I have to assume that the coffee will be crazy-fresh.
I settled my bags at the Quest Hamilton. You might have noted that I’ve made a habit of Quests. Nelson, New Plymouth and Hamilton have all done me well. All clean, relatively spacious and (most importantly) very well located near bars and restaurants.
My guidebook steered me towards some restaurant called “Gothenburg”. What kind of pseudo-Swede would I be if I didn’t head to an establishment so well-named. I would have been so very fortunate if they had decided to close for the Easter weekend. Damn you, Jesus. I’ll smoke a turd in hell for that one.
Victoria Street seems to be the main drag in Hamilton and it offered a couple of other options. Some good local beers from “Good George Brewing” were quaffed at “The Local Taphouse” which is disappointedly located in the local Casino.
I headed down to Palete, another of the Lonely Planet recommended restaurants. The first person that saw me was a gal that could have landed the role of Pippi Longstocking. She nailed the ponytails and dropped me into a seat. To my right was the Table of Infamy: a table surrounded by choice vino.
In the end, I had some very tasty lamb chops with a cheese board for dessert. Yummy. I grabbed a photo of me in a Dr Evil-style chair on the way out.
I took a leasurely walk home and knocked down some laundry using my in-suite laundry.
Another fine weather day of good riding.