New Zealand North island Day 2 Driving Creek Railway

We spent 2 nights at Rapaura Gardens. On the second day, it was drizzling and we slept in for the morning and had a lazy breakfast with French Toast.

Sally suggested we drive up Driving Creek Railway instead of looking for shoreline birds which was our original plan.

We drove into Carolmandel town, and parked in front of Pepper Tree restaurant.
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There is a 100 year old tree which the original owners brought as a sapling from Australia. The tree was originally from South Africa. It doesn’t bear peppercorns but it’s leaves when crushed and rubbed gives out a peppery/lemon smell.

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This is how thick the tree has become.
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Probably becauseof the bone marrow thrown out by the butcher shop next door, the tree is very healthy and big.

Good food at the restaurant with Asian twist to your typical pasta. Reasonably priced too. Sally later told us they had a new chef.

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Fish and chips. Big portion.
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Carbonara with freshly made pasta.
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Juicy steak.

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Artisan shops around the town for a walk after lunch.

Look out for the Carolmandel Smoking Co to pick up mussels for cooking back in the home kitchen. We missed it on our way back as it’s past closing time.

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Lovely little town with spring flowers all around.

Driving up to the Driving Creek Railway.

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If you’re in Coromandel, it’s worth doing this for the story about Barry Bickell whom even Sally Tank, our host at Rapaura Water Gardens, knew.

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Cost is NZ$25 per person but you’ll not necessarily want to visit NZ to try it. Since you’re there and there’s not much to do except visit greenery, make a trip and take in some of the sights at the Eyeful tower.

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The pottery of Barry is not amazing. But he was likely a popular guy with some friends and a very good idea of creating a railway himself to transport clay for his pottery. This made me a bit freakish about the safety since I wasn’t sure if the rails will give way.
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But after hearing the story, I’ve more confidence that the railway carriage we were on, was not the same one that Barry built.

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After the bank convinced him to open up the area, to pay off his loan, a commercial train – safe and stable – was built by local authorities.

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Lots of silver tree ferns

Barry had no children and this is now state property. The entire experience has a cottage industry feel of an ingenious potter who built a railway.

All these lush vegetation are introduced into New Zealand. The forest had been cleared by slash and burn method.

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I’m more impressed with the story then Barry’s pottery skills. We bought a sculpture from Wailing Elliot, one of the friends who supported Barry’s works and dreams.

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