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Port Charles fence of shoes

Off the beaten track to Port Charles

Port Charles is a superb option for lovers of the untravelled road with stunningly rugged countryside and even a fancy spot to grab a bite to eat for us Aucklander’s.

Being a photographer means weekend work – and while I try to keep public holidays work free this Anzac Weekend I ended up at Cornwall Park photographing a family on Sunday (which let me tell you in Autumn is not a bad place to be at all). So Sunday after the shoot was finished we headed off down to Thames to drop the last of our children off for the second of school holidays for a whole week of alone time!

Given we were in Thames already we decided to stay the night with James parents before heading up the Coromandel Coast the next day. We are incredibly lucky to be able to stay at their bach up there at a little place called Waitete Bay that is so special we can’t quite bring ourselves to blog about it yet…

Once up there the weather was looking a little choppy for fishing so we decided to head over to Port Charles to Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat which James Step Dad (a Farmer who is not prone to suggesting lunch venues) suggested us Aucklander’s would probably like.

We headed off with James and his parents to explore.

Unfortunately us Aucklander’s also expect everything to be open everyday so were gutted to see after 13km of winding, metal roads that Tangiaro Kiwi Retreat is closed on Monday and Tuesday. Particularly as it looked very much like something that would be totally up our alley with rumoured spa pools in the trees and a divine looking restaurant – so much so that we are already planning our next trip back to check them out and maybe stay at one of the very cool looking cabins.

The trip was far from wasted though as we had some very knowledgable tour guides in the car and some brilliant scenes out the window. James had spent some time in and around Port Charles when working on the fishing boats and his Step Dad had spent a lot of his younger years working and playing around the area too so they regaled us with stories as we bumped our way through the rugged and beautiful countryside that is Port Charles.

There were surprise vistas around every corner – including my favourite – the shoe fence that stretched on for a good 1km as we wound our way around the cliff.

Shoe fence Port Charles

We ended up at Stony Bay. An aptly named bay that takes you as far as you can go on this road.

A Doc camp that would be perfect for taking the kids camping…


A tree so easy to climb that you could walk out on it for spectacular views over the secluded bay….


A boat ramp for 4wd only…


And utter peace, quiet and tranquility…..

Port Charles

We went for a walk around Stony Bay before our tummies started rumbling and we headed back for Colville – stopping at the fast becoming legendary Hereford ’n a Pickle for some pretty amazing burgers.

Back at Waitete Bay and the water has calmed and I am sitting here writing this blog post while looking at what has to be one of the most amazing views on earth.

Back to the day job tomorrow…..

If you want to explore Port Charles yourself here’s what you need to do….

Head up the coast from Thames up toward Coromandel. You will shoot straight through Coromandel (stopping for oysters if you fancy them at Coromandel Oysters) and then head up to Colville (here’s our favourite places to stop here if you fancy stretching your legs at this point). Keep on driving straight past Colville until you reach an intersection with a sign pointing two ways – one to Point Jackson, the other to Point Charles. Head on out on this road (it’s metal and winding and you do need to be aware of slips if the weather has been bad) until you arrive.

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