This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark (I haven’t aged at all since I first wrote this introduction) and I proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).
Today’s travel notes
The TC and her travelling companion are travelling on New Zealand’s North Island. This worm is here too, to keep them on track and ensure good reading habits.
We took a ride on the Driving Creek Railway, outside the little town of Coromandel. The train is small, just high enough to sit in. Each bench can seat two adults side by side. It’s a beautiful, interesting ride, up steep slopes from the lower station to the playfully-named Eyefull Tower at the top. (Faithful readers may notice that this worm does appreciate a good pun.)
To get up the slopes the train goes through a series of zigzags and spirals. Every now and then the driver reverses up one leg of a zigzag, or gets out of the train and walks to the other end to change directions.
My impressions? An engineer’s dream brought to life.
The book I’m in
Rat Run, by Gerald Seymour. A mix of crime, terrorism and psychology. I’m looking forward to finding out what happened to make the hero the way he is.
It takes longer than you expect to get from A to B in New Zealand.
Driving Creek Café, 180 Driving Creek Rd, Coromandel 3506. It’s a cosy restaurant combined with a second-hand book store. The people are welcoming, and they prepare the food with flair and skill. Photos below.
Pauanui Pines Motor Lodge, 174 Vista Paku, Pauanui. It’s not close to Coromandel or the Driving Creek Railway, but it’s a restful lodging with welcoming hosts. Be aware that the nearest supermarket closes at 6.30pm. Any others are far away, so stock up as soon as you arrive.
Me and the Driving Creek Railway train:
The video below is taken from on board the train, as it leaves the lower station. You’ll see people in the engineering workshop wave as we leave. There’s also a view on one of the slightly scary bridges (viaducts) that carry the track across gorges and gaps:
The next video includes a zigzag. To get up the hill, the train stops at the end of a track and reverses up the next leg of the zigzag. Below the train you can see the section of track that we’ve just travelled. It’s an impressively steep climb. At the top, the engineer gets out of the train to switch the track, then we move forward again. The zigzag track is visible below the train.
The third video includes one of the short, narrow tunnels on the track. The video starts as we come to the end of a reversing section. The engineer gets out to switch the track, then gets back in and says “Tunnel three, everything inside please”. He mentions the pottery and artwork on the sides of the track as we approach the tunnel, and the bush environment after exiting the tunnel:
The train, unembellished by this worm’s attractive person:
At the top station is the playfully-named Eyefull Tower:
The view from the top is lovely:
One of the pottery artworks that stud the banks along the way:
A reversing point:
A closer view of the notices on the wall:
One of the reversing points is on a rather scary platform:
My (probably adrenalin-fuelled) delight in the view from the platform made the scariness worthwhile:
Looking across the carriage at the view on the other side:
Back at the lower station, ticket office and engineering workshop:
It’s worth taking the short bush walk down the side of the station, to see more eccentric bits of art and hear the birds singing in the trees. A sign clearly tells you when you’ve gone far enough:
After the ride, we stopped for a meal at the Driving Creek Café:
It’s cosy, and it has books, which make it a winner in this worm’s eyes:
That’s all for today, folks.