The track is only accessible down a unsealed road and therefore not covered under many hire car insurance polices. In the end we decided to take an organised tour with Coromandel Discovery who drive you to the start of the track in Fletcher Bay and then meet you at the other end. The price of $125 each for what seems like a glorified taxi service seems a bit steep but Michael (the joint company owner and driver) adds a seemingly uninterrupted commentary of the local history flora and fauna along the way and cooks up some nice tea and cake at the end to make the fee seem worthwhile. Michael explained to us the devastation that had been caused in the region due a storm a couple of months ago and there were plenty of signs along the track where damage was evident, another good reason for not venturing on the track alone.
We were picked up at around 8:30 and arrived at Fletcher Bay around 11:30. It seems like a long time given the distance but there are numerous stops along the way for photo’s and shopping including in Colville where the local store promises “free love”. I asked about the free love but apparently the woman offering it had the day off!.
The walking track itself is a mixture of open countryside and covered walking within the forest canopy. The first three km are the most open and exposed to the elements (it was quite windy) and also offer the best photo opportunities, its also the hilliest part of the track. Thereafter the track is largely undulating. The estimate of 3-4 hours is reasonable (its 10km long) given the numerous opportunities for stops although there are very few side tracks and most of the coastline is inaccessible. We completed the walk in a shade over three hours with a 15 minute stop for lunch, we were walking at a reasonable pace but certainly not hurrying. I imagine for those in a rush the walk is doable in a couple of hours. We were the first of our party to get to the end and we waited around an hour for the stragglers.
Overall its a nice walk especially considering we had good weather although personally I felt there was more walking in the forest canopy that I had expected which is less interesting.
A special mention goes to our evening meal at the Coromandel Hotel which offers some of the largest meals I have ever seem. Its traditional pub grub (i.e. vegetables come draped in a layer of cheese sauce). Nice after a days walking but when you see most people leaving with doggie bags you might think that would suggest they are serving too much.