Photovan does Stony bay !

April 2009 :

Friday morning I loaded up my Photovan for a tour . I usually pack it the same day I leave so I sleep properly the night before - keeps the adrenalin levels down :smile: .
I actually didn't know exactly where I was heading when I left but knew I wanted to head north . As I was driving I decided that since I had liked the Coromandel trip so much I would head up there but on the rough roads to the right where I'd never been before . I had liked Fletcher's bay and wanted to walk across to Stony bay on the previous trip but not with a sprained ankle - so I headed for ''the other side '' this time , Stony Bay

  I had a lot more keepers this time so either I've improved a bit or it's due to the fact that I wasn't using the Sigma 10-20mm which is a fun lens but yielded few keepers .
This time I had the D90 and Tamron 17-50F2.8 and Nikon 70-200VR but ended up taking most of the pictures with the D40 and 18-105 combination .

Why one earth did a pick an arterial route from Auckland to head for Thames!?

I stopped at the food-court in Thames and splashed out on a waffle and banana combination and the worst hot chocolate I have ever tasted .

Just as a teaser I'll include a long distance shot of the destination . Judging from the number of people/families I see camping for days/weeks on end in one boring spot I've realized that I have become spoiled in the scenery I have seen and while for many people the camping ground is a ''base camp'' for their fishing trips to me it has become a 'destination' and has to be close to spectacular with at least a few options to walk in different directions for 'more' scenery . This is the first view you get of "Stony Bay" as you wind down the hill on the last dead end road of the northern tip of Coromandel .

Many of the pictures taken in the early stages of the journey are duplicated in the previous Coromandel thread , but this time the weather was a bit better . The 'new' scenery started with Port Charles and I was dissappointed to see that there were no camp sites here because it looked like a really nice place to stop .

I actually never even knew if there was a campsite at Stony Bay but with my van I can stop almost anywhere if need be 

Anyway I'll only post 'day one' on the first page . After choosing a site in the Stony bay camp site [ yes there is one!] I wandered around and took a few pictures . Stony Bay is one of those places where I could actually spend more than one night , I've grown so accustomed to touring and seeing new scenery every day I haven't yet stayed more than one night at a campsite .

I tried a few slow exposures that night though there wasn't enough movement to make it look too good .

and , pushing the limits a bit here ....

Towards the afternoon I had walked across the bay and a bit up the pathway [ tell you more about that later ] to get an elevated view of the place .

And then made my way back along the beach

photovan framed in the distance ...

definitely one of the best campsites I've been to .

In the evening I focused on the reflections of these rocks ....

This guy was napping when I snapped him .

I ended up grabbing the D40 combination for the rest of the trip , especially for the long walk I did on the second day .
This is the 'road' coming in to the site - you just have to hope you don't meet too many cars to work your way around .

This is where I walked to on the second day which is actually where I stayed in December on my first Coromandel trip mentioned at the beginning . I'll post the Day two story later when I get back from my photography drive with my mate ....

I think I'm safer just photographing the water , like from the top of the lookout on the walking track .

Anyway .... day two I decided to walk across to Fletcher's Bay . They rate it as a 3 1/2 hour walk but those ratings are generally for people who put their teeth in a glass of water at night . Another 'local" camper told me you can do it in 2 hours if you're fit so I headed off with only a small pack and the D40 and 18-105 combination .

There were a few streams along the path which wound its way up rather close to the bushy hills with the occasional glimpse of scenery .

50 minutes later I was at the lookout and a sign that told me it was 1 1/2 hours back to the camp . I need to do more HDR with my landscape shots with bright skies ....

A little further on the scenery changed , along with a bit of rain .

Something that really gets to me on these tracks [ ok not so much on this particular one ] , they have a sign marking the track when it is totally obvious where it is and you can't go in any other direction - but when everything is flat and washed away there are no signs . We got lost on one walk at a river crossing onto a flat area with no markers on the other side . eventually we found a dirt road and as we looked down the road we counted about 8 markers in a row .... on the blinking road !

Anyway I got to Fletcher's bay in 1 hour 45 minutes not counting the lookout stop and the only place I ran was on the steep downhill which my thighs have been reminding me about all day today .

I spent 5 minutes resting and taking in the scenery and turned around and headed back . Even though I really like Stony bay and had told myself this would be the first campsite I stay two nights in a row my mind was already ticking over " would I find better scenery further down the coast on my way back ?" .
I got back , rested for 5 minutes and then started getting an itchy accelerator foot and started packing up camp ........

I should have stayed where I was now that I think about it but time .
I started off on the road again .

Second half of the second day , I drove back past Waikawau , not much to see [ nothing 'spectacular' I mean ] , then when I saw Kennedy bay I hoped there would be a campsite there but nothing , just a sign saying 'no camping' .

Then I drove through this strange "settlement" that doesn't even seem to have a name ?
I could have spent a while there photographing the interesting buildings but curtains were pulled back as I slowed down and I didn't want to make them too nervous but I got a few snaps .

this 'ghost house' even had a letterbox !

Then there was this climb on the winding road up the mountain , it was a little nerve wracking finding a spot to pull over that didn't look like it was going to collapse - then two cars met and had to squeeze past each other and the van but I managed to get close enough for a picture that included most of the road .

Then I parked the photovan at this lookout and climbed the hill .

and got a view of Coromandel town from the top .

also got a side shot of the van

I'll post the rest of the story on the second campsite on a new page ....

Anyway , Saturday afternoon I settled for a camping ground in Coromandel since there was nothing spectacular around for a fair distance and I was tired of driving .
I was fortunate to get a quiet site

just around the corner from the busy site ...

and there was a bit worth photographing in the area....

Once I was settled I went for a walk ...

and that's about the end of the story , Coromandel is now my favourite area for 'condensed' scenery .