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2020 - SNZA - Day 18

This morning I woke with no back pain thanks to the best bed we have had this trip. In fact I would go as far as to say it is even better than the one we have at home. What a world of difference it made. It made us even sadder that we were staying here for just one night. After making our breakfast we sat on our patio making the most of our time until we had to check out.

We packed the car and left it at the motel whilst we went to explore the village with all the shops open. We even walked to look at the Village toilets which were built in a most unusual manner and were an attraction all on their own. We spent a happy hour meandering and looking in the shops, although our purchases amounted to just a Raisin Whirl and some glasses wipes for Karen.

There was a book shop that had a board up outside with todays definition chalked on it. The word was ‘Stalking’ - When two people go for a long romantic walk together, but only one of them knows about it. That tickled me. But it also reminded me that I have been stalked everyday this holiday. Wherever or whenever we have sat and ate outside, I think it is the same Gull that comes and sits in front of us. He chases off all other gulls as if to say, these people and their crumbs are mine (mine, mine). He stares at me constantly with his evil eyes all the time. I have taken to not discussing our route with Karen whilst outside, yet still he finds me.

Reluctantly we thought we had better be making our way to Whangarei which was our next overnight stop. The route had a lot of roadworks which did not auger well for our much longer drives over the next couple of days as we would be on the same route but in the opposite direction.

We took the coast road and stopped at Mangawhai Heads. The guidebook described it as having a beautiful beach and lovely views. We weren’t convinced we were in the right place but it had a free picnic bench overlooking the bay. The bench was next to what was obviously a mother and toddler group (with one father) who were all seated on a blanket under a gazebo. Karen informed me the babies were all about 4 months old. There was not one crying baby in all the time we were there.

For lunch we ate the remainder of the Pizzas we had not been able to finish at the restaurant last night. The Evil Gull turned up again. I am not getting paranoid at all. I still refused to feed him. I think I will name him Erik. The pizza was just as nice cold as it was hot.

We thought we would try to see if there was more to Mangawhai Heads than we had found. There were no signs to any other points of interest and so we went down some side street using our intuition. We came to a very crowded car park which did overlook a beautiful beach and had the lovely promised view. We found a spot and got out to explore. After sitting on a bench on the cliff watching the surfers, we went down to walk along the beach. It was lovely again. Karen was convinced the tide was turning and that if we went too far we could be cut off. But it wasn’t and we wouldn’t have been anyway. The sun shimmering off the sea made it very picturesque all the same.

The only problem was that this place had no cafe and nowhere to get a drink and by now we were both very thirsty. We had also run out of drinks in the cool bag in the car. So we headed off again up the coast. When we got to Waipu Cove and came across a bar overlooking the coast we stopped and went in to buy a couple of cold drinks. We sat for a while and then strangely and perhaps sadly played Tenable on my phone in the sun. We got to the final thanks to my knowledge of S Club 7 hits and Karen’s input on Harry Potter. Disappointingly we didn’t win the prize money round which was about the 10 Southern most capitals in the world. I said next time I would bring Warwick Davis on holiday with me instead of Karen as he would surely know the answers to his own quiz. We decided he would probably be very good company although as he is a caravanner would probably want to use a camper van over here instead of motels.

Anyhow after this we thought we should at least go and see the beach on the other side of the road to the bar. It was very nice again, although to be fair we were starting to get rather blasé about all the marvellous beaches here. We found another lovely bench which I left Karen sitting on whilst I went for a walk along the tides edge. There was no sign of Erik here. I found her an enormous whole shell for Karen on the beach which she rejected as she didn’t find it and she thought it was a bit scabby. It was big though but still got discarded.

We then finished our journey to Whangarei. Rather than going straight to the motel we went to Whanagrei Falls. We had visited these before but Karen couldn’t remember them until we got there. They looked pretty from the top but even better once we followed the circular walk to the bottom. It is all very pretty but rather strange as the river and the valley almost seem to have had a housing estate built up around it.

We drove further into Whangarei itself to find the motel. The town was not pretty and nor was the motel from the outside. It seemed like a transit place to stay rather than a destination itself. The room itself was fine although it didn’t have air conditioning and although everything was clean and new, Karen didn’t like the colour scheme. I’m not sure that is a criteria I can put into Trip Advisor when looking for places to stay.

After some quick chill time, we made our way into town to get some dinner. We found the place I had chosen call The Old Butter Factory. It was fine. On a Tuesday all Burgers are reduced to $10, so we ordered those along with a large portion of chips between us. My fish burger was delicious and was really just a very large portion of battered fish in a bun. Karen’s beef burger was homemade and very thick. Sadly though it was not cremated enough for her and she politely sent it back. It returned and was ‘well done’ in anyone else’s eyes but she was still not 100% happy. The chips though were a relevation. They were piping hot real chips and a real pile of them. We devoured them quickly.

On the way back to the motel we stopped at Countdown supermarket (we may not go in another one, so this may have been 'The Final Countdown’ for us) to get some fruit and provisions for our long journeys coming up. I also then filled up with petrol before we were back quite early for the night.

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