Sunday, March 22, 2015

ScooterBob goes train spotting!!

Following the last post about ScooterBob's history, his arrival in Coromandel and meeting our close friends, it was time for SB to go exploring.  Before our friends Peter and Jane Miller returned to the UK, we wanted to show them a local attraction, Driving Creek Railway .  Of course, it would be rude not to invite cherished guest SB along too.

The narrow gauge railway was built by a (very) eccentric potter, Barry Brickell; to collect both clay and firewood for the kilns from the hills on his property. An increasing overdraft saw his bank manager suggest that the railway might be used for fare-paying passengers as well.  You can read about Barry's incredible transformation of the railway by using the link above but it's an amazing construction winding through the hills.  It's not just a rail journey, the old and often bizarre equipment and kilns used to produce all sorts of pottery are an attraction in themselves.  It's not only pottery which is made there but glass objects, paintings and the occasional bit of ironwork too.  Pottery and glass objects are tucked into all sorts of nooks and crannies in the buildings and up the track waiting to delight the people who stumble on them.

ScooterBob arriving at Driving Creek Railway

Do we drive on the left or right??

Introducing himself to the train driver, Pete Sephton

All aboard!

As mentioned earlier, there are all sorts of treasures tucked into recesses and by the track on the way up into the hills.  Here are a few examples.

Gorgeous glassware made on site

Discarded glass vases in one of the workshops

Bizarre pottery along the track

Yet more pottery

Wonderful rustic workshop

As the train slowly worked its way up into the hills, we chatted with SB and he appeared to really enjoy all the sights.  There are several tunnels on the track and one with a decorative terracotta entrance, all made on site.

Terracotta entrance to the tunnel

One of the items on the tunnel entrance wall is a pottery plaque.  It's a poem by TS Eliot and is a moving reminder to take our opportunities while we can.

A reminder to us all....

At the top of the track, there is a viewing structure appropriately called the Eyefull Tower which gives magnificent views over Coromandel Harbour.  ScooterBob took time during the climb up the spiral staircase to catch his breath and look down on the train.

Climbing up the Eyefull Tower 

Taking in the great views

After returning to the station, it was time for SB to have a last look at the buildings and some garden pottery before a quick peek into the relatively recently-opened art gallery on site.

One last look....

SB in the pottery garden

A forged iron chandelier in the gallery lit with LED's

Part of a forged iron garden art structure

Scooterbob had a pretty full time of it and as we had to take Peter and Jane to the airport for the trip back to the UK, he elected to stay in Coromandel and recharge his battery whilst Peter, Jane, Jennie and I headed north to Auckland airport .

Saying goodbye to his new-found friends Peter and Jane

Next time: ScooterBob goes out on the Triumph Street Triple and other petrol-head adventures!


  1. More great pics Geoff. I think I need to investigate some gravel up your way one day...

    1. Cheers Andrew. I think you'd enjoy the gravel north and east of Coromandel Town. It's not hugely taxing but the scenery is breathtaking. Best done during a weekday and you'll virtually have it to yourself!

  2. Wow I never knew there was a small gauge train near your place. Beautiful scenery in your neck of the woods mate. SB is on one great big adventure. I can't wait to see what he gets up to on the Triple, god help us all.....

    1. Cheers Steve,
      Wouldn't you know it.... Unexpected rain today so his adventures will have to wait a wee while!

  3. Replies
    1. Sure is Dom! Totally built by scrounging old bits and pieces from everywhere. Very little is new on the whole site.

  4. By the looks of that railway, there is a risk the next stop could be Hogwarts.

    Very pretty, nicely quirky.

    1. Hahaha - excellent analogy! The whole of the Coromandel Peninsula is quirky. In the 70's, it was a haven for hippies / alternative lifestylers and there are still some communes about. It has a vibrant arts scene so it's a nice place to live. It was pretty much an accident that we came to live here but absolutely no regrets!

    2. I could totally picture a pair of pink crocks midst it all.

    3. Karen, I think Bob would have been totally at home here. I do have brown Crocs for fishing, but alas, no pink ones. They would clash with my red shorts :-).

  5. I also really like the narrow gauge train. The only thing that would have made it better would be a steam engine.

    1. We're big steam fans too. However, without a rack and pinion, a normal steam train wouldn't make it up some of the inclines which are 1:13! A diesel powers the units with 16 wheel hydraulic drive!

    2. A few years ago we went on a narrow gauge train in the Santa Cruz Mtns. The engine had vertical pistons with a worm drive to the wheels. About ten driven small diameter wheels and 30% grades. It was used for commercial logging.

    3. Wow. that's one heck of a grade. We rode a rack and pinion steam train in Tasmania a couple of years back that climbed through the mountains of their west coast. Really impressive and they had fully-restored vintage carriages too. This is it:

  6. Great pics Geoff! It looks like ScooterBob is taking in all the sights! I love old trains. David is right is could be the setting out of Harry Potter. I do think pink crocs would make the magic happen. I think when SB visits I will have to wear a pair of crocs, pink of course.

    1. Thanks Dar. I'll avoid pink Crocs in case I get whisked into the realms of Harry Potter but I'll wangle in a photo of ScooterBob in the company of my plain ol' brown Crocs which I use on the boat!