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I would like to share with you some scenes from around my hometown, Whitianga, which is situated on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula.

From Suckers Rock

Sucker's Rock is one of my favourite surf-casting spots. It's a remote location, several kilometres from Whitianga on the Bluff Road to Matarangi. I have spent many happy hours here, and I don't always catch a fish, but the peace and tranquility make it worth the time spent. The Bluff Road is a very narrow dirt track with room in places for only one car. It winds gently up one side of the bluff and down the other, with beautiful views out to the Mercury Islands.

Lonely Bay and Cooks Beach

Lonely Bay in the foreground is well named. It is only accessible on foot from halfway up Shakespeare Cliff which is a popular tourist spot. It's known locally as a nudist beach because of it's seclusion. Cooks Beach is where Captain Cook anchored his ship, the Endeavour when he came into Mercury Bay. He gave Mercury Bay that name when he saw the planet Mercury cross the sky.

Buffalo Beach

This is the main beach in Whitianga. The photo was taken round about 1964 and the only visible difference is that there are now many houses on the hill in the foreground from which this photo was taken. Whitianga has a population of approximately 5000 (1999) permanent residents, but this swells to about 45-50,000 in the summer. We have one of the safest harbours in New Zealand, with no sand bar to cross. The bay is wide and deep and rarely sees large waves so is not a good surf beach, but because it slopes very gently it makes a good beach for children.

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