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Coasters episode 7: Tongaporutu to New Plymouth


Al Brown, John Cawley, and John McLean returning from floundering at Mimi River Mouth

This week's coastal journey is along the energy coast, beginning at Tongaparutu, famous for its rock formation, "The Three Sisters", reduced to two by a powerful storm in 2003. Taranaki is often called the Texas of New Zealand, and geologist Vince Neall explains how the region's underground reservoirs of crude oil and natural gas came about.


Click here for Al's recipe for Mussel Fritters

Al heads south, following the coastal edge of the Taranaki Basin. For centuries, this stunning low tide route provided the main access for people travelling into this part of Taranaki. At White Cliffs Al meets up with local coaster and farmer John Cawley who is gathering mussels. Before long they've filled a bag, then it's off to John's favourite fishing ledge. 

Further south at Mimi River, Al drops in on local artist John McLean whose love for the coast is reflected in his latest series of 19 paintings called "The Abandoned Farmer". Al joins John down in the lagoon to drag for flounder, then gathers greens in the house garden before preparing a meal of Mussel Fritters with Saute?ed Whole Flounder & Herb Butter Sauce.

Refreshed and refuelled Al makes his way to Fitzroy Beach and to meet surf photographer Daisy Day and her husband Arch Arthur, who together they have the local surf scene covered - running the local surf shop, printing the local surf paper and Arch was instrumental in forming the local surf club. After a quick surfing lesson with Daisy, Al gets out into the water to try out his newly acquired skills.

From Fitzroy Beach, Al travels along New Plymouth's coastal walkway and at its centre the magnificent Len Lye wind wand.  Len Lye was one of our most influential modern artists, widely known for his kinetic sculptures. Local engineer John Matthews from the Govett-Brewster Gallery collaborated with Lye to build many of them, and is spearheading a move to realise more of Lye's un-constructed designs.

Before completing his journey along the energy coast, there is one more hurdle for Al, an energy-sapping climb up Paritutu Rock.


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Coasters: In photos 

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