Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Fletcher & Fantail

Fletcher Bay is the next accessible bay along from Port Jackson & also the end of the road. The Coromandel Coastal Walkway begins &/or ends here depending if you do the return trip or not, it is a popular three & half hour walk (one way) & many tourists make the long journey up the peninsula to complete it. The walk's end, or midway point if you are returning, is Stony Bay on the eastern side of the peninsula and a 56km road trip away.
Fletcher Bay also has a DOC camp, a smaller one than Port Jackson and not on sandy ocean beach but in a nice little stony bay. The camp wasn’t nearly as busy either with just one small campervan, probably due to the fact that it’s also inaccessible to bigger vehicles due to a deep ford that needs to be crossed; our back end would most likely become wedged as we climbed up the other side.
The road again is very narrow & winding as it passes through Colville Farm Park & then climbs up and along the cliff top with magnificent views out over the Colville Channel to Great Barrier Island & beyond, Cape Colville to the left & down to the islands off the eastern side of the peninsula.
We have motored through the Colville Channel in our boat many times in the past; it holds a good amount of fear for many sailors as it is well known for cutting up rough. Sail times are planned around the weather & tide to help with a safe passage. Today it was looking very benign and it was great to see this area from another view point.

While we were admiring the view a commercial crayfish boat came around the point and in close to the rocks to check their pots. They were so quick at pulling up the pots & resetting them we couldn’t see if they had caught any.
We also took a drive back along the western side of the peninsula to Fantail Bay, back along the winding dusty road for a third time. We wanted to check out the DOC camp at Fantail and also see if we could find a couple of potential fishing spots.
The road was very busy with quite a number of cars that we had to squeeze & carefully manoeuvre past, thank God we didn’t have the fifth wheeler in tow. There were also dozens of small boats fishing off the coast and lots of fishermen & women fishing from the rocks along the rugged coastline. At Fantail Bay, which looked to be the only place where you could launch a small boat, the parking area was packed with cars & boat trailers, they even had their own fish cleaning station built into the rocks.

We had a good look around & decided we might come back once Easter was over & the ‘crowds’ had gone home.

We returned to Fletcher Bay on Easter Sunday to do the Coromandel Coastal walk & what a difference a couple of days make. The DOC camp now had quite a number of tents, boats & people enjoying the long weekend.


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