|Today we picked up our car and are heading off to the Coromandel Peninsula. We headed for the Waihi Beach area through the Karangahake Gorge and across the Hauraki Plains. We took the scenic route via the Firth of Thames. What a beautiful area and what a lovely drive. We found a beach on the Firth of the Thames that was full of shells and water so warm it was incredible. All we needed was a bucket and spade and we could have spent the day there. After a long play on the beach we headed for our first coffee, in a little shop on the way to Waihi. Outside was a biker and we had a chat with him whilst drinking our coffee. We were then joined by another couple and each of them gave us a few tips on where to stop on route. There is nothing like local knowledge. Before we knew it we were in a bird sanctuary in a hide looking at the Godwit's that had arrived from Alaska for their summer holidays. With other twitchers (Janet has a bit of a tick so I think that qualifies her - sorry Janet) we then went to another hide to look at the ribald biirds there. A Danish fella near wet himself with excitement at seeing these birds as he had heard of them but never seen them! We carried on driving to Poets Corner, our final destination in Waihi Beach. We were not prepared for such a beautiful location and amazing lodge. Janet and I had been upgraded and we had our own lodge each. The host Marg was very welcoming (as are all New Zealanders it appears) and we had supper with her and her husband and an American couple (Cath and Russ) in their beautiful house within the grounds of Poets Corner. Very entertaining and interesting. Then it was off to our lodges to get ready for the hiking day ahead.