The 309 Road runs from Coromandel to Whitianga on the North Island. It is called that because it used to take 309 minutes in a horse-drawn carriage to go from one town to the other. It is an unsealed gravel road with lots of bends 22 km in length travelling through mostly virgin forest.At the far end of the road is the 309 Honey farm, which produces a manuka honey famous throughout New Zealand. Manuka is a moderate sized tree with tiny spiked leaves and fragrant white flowers. Captain Cook made tea from the plant. Bees harvest a rich dark honey from it.
Several kilometers from the start of the road near Coromandel there are a number of run-down buildings dating back to the early settlers. A little ways past that on the road you come to a clearing where if you slow down wild pigs may come out to greet you along with an assortment of crowing roosters and peacocks.
When we arrived we see a man across the road spreading feed on the ground on a hillside and dozens of coarse mostly black-haired pigs of all sizes scrounging, snorting and scoffing down the feed.
We stop to watch and the man beckons us forward. Some forty or fifty pigs surround him along with dozens of piglets. Intermixed with the pigs are roosters and other assorted wild birds that eat alongside the pigs. A peacock wanders past.