Barry Brickell's fascinating project has become a major tourist attraction. Mr. Brickell is a potter who discovered that the clay on his land was perfect for his work. The problem was the deposit lay at the top of a very steep slope, so he hacked a path through the forest and built a narrow gauge railway to bring the clay down to his studio. Visitors began asking if they could go along for a ride and specially designed passenger trains now run daily tours.
The diesel-powered locomotive route incorporates a double-deck viaduct, three tunnels, a spiral, and switchback through native forest, lined with terra-cotta sculptures all the way to the "Eyefull Tower," modeled on a hexagonal lighthouse tower, and viewing platform. On a clear day you can see across the Hauraki Gulf. The railway also funds a reforestation program; to date more than 25,000 native trees have been planted and a 1.6-acre fenced wildlife sanctuary has been established. The railway round-trip takes about 60 minutes. There is also a pottery shop at the "station" and an art gallery with changing exhibitions. You'll find it all just 3 km (2 miles) north of Coromandel township. Bookings are advised, and essential during the peak summer months.