Whitianga, New Zealand
9th November 2019

Izzy and I are now in the Coromandel. We travelled on an old bus through awesome mountain roads to a small tourist town of Whitianga. Whitianga (pronounced more like fit-e-anga) is a really cute town. Tourism has helped it to become successful at the cost of a few too many touristy shops, but the mountains and coastline more than make up for that. On the down side, it's a town at risk to tsunamis. The bay has the unfortunate property of increasing the damage of tsunamis from certain directions. Thus, tsunami awareness is postered all over the town - but not enough that visitors are necessarily aware of the risk on arrival! Turns out there are two sirens in the town. One, warns of incoming tsunami and should be treated with complete seriousness. The other warns 99% of the town of absolutely nothing. This equally scary sounding siren is just to notify the volunteer firefighters that their service is required and they should head to the station. Wish someone had told us that! We knew about volcanoes and earthquakes before arriving, but neither of us remembered tsunamis. And they are no joke, the Japanese tsunami in 2011 created a 1.6m wave that hit Whitianga's coastline.

Since arriving on Tuesday there have beem a beautiful hot few days. I almost feel bad since I know it has been quite cold back in the UK. It's raining as I am writing this, but the rain is a nice bit of relief from the heat. The sunsets over the mountains have been stunning - I can't wait to find better viewpoints from up in the mountains. Although, public footpaths are nothing like what we have in the UK. Finding a good mountain trail isn't simple...

Sunset across the lake and over the mountains
Whitianga Harbour