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
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!