Author: Mrs A
Location: Omokoroa, Te Puna, Mount Maunganui, Whakatane and Ohope, New Zealand
Wednesday was dad and Sue’s sixth wedding anniversay, so we treated them to a special lunch at a local winery, Mill’s Reef. As we pulled into the car park we drove past a large black helicopter – apparently some guests really arrived in style! We later learned they had flown up from Christchurch in New Zealand’s south island…imagine doing that!
Despite ‘only’ arriving in a ten year old Ford Focus we all enjoyed our lunch and toasted the happy couple.
On Thursday, a long-time friend, Owen, was flying over to spend some time with his sister and brother-in-law, Kay and Frank in Mount Maunganui, about a half an hour drive south of where dad lives.
We met them for lunch at the Cider Factorie at Te Puna, and brought them back to dad’s house so they could check out the views from this side of Omokoroa.
Friday morning saw us heading down to Tauranga Airport, where Kay and Frank live in an apartment above a plane hanger. They’re both plane enthusiasts, and Frank’s passion is rebuilding old Cessna aircraft.
After a quick tour we all jumped into Frank and Kay’s four wheel drive for an explore down the coast. This was a bit of a trip down memory lane for Owen and Kay, who used to holiday in this area as children.
Our first stop was Whakatane, a fishing port and popular home for retirees (this town boasts the most hours of sunshine in New Zealand). The mouth of the estuary is pretty treacherous with rocks and choppy waters – we watched a few boats running the gauntlet.
From here we continued south along the coast to Ohope, just around the headland.
By all accounts Ohope Beach had not changed a great deal – the beachside settlement was a little bigger, but still very pretty and natural with bush land reaching right down to the beach.
We stopped in town for some lunch before heading on back to the mount.
Later that evening, we headed into Mount Maunganui for dinner at a local restaurant, Fish Face…yes speciality food is fish. An old colleague of Mark’s from his SAP days, Kirstin, drove up from her home to join us. Lots of laughs, some tasty food and wine was enjoyed, and we all sensibly returned home for night caps rather than stumble in to one of the many nearby bars.
Saturday morning called for some activity to work off all the excesses of the night before, so Mark, Owen and I borrowed some bikes and went on a ride. Owen is recovering from a nasty cycling accident which resulted in a broken shoulder, chipped elbow bone and nerve damage to his leg, so this was only the second time back on a bike in a couple of months.
We took it easy, making use of the off road cycle network to explore the coast around Tauranga harbour and tour around 15km.
We returned for showers and joined Kay for lunch in Mount Maunganui and a wander around the shops.
Frank and Kay have a lovely library in their apartment with bifold windows that open up to look out over the runway. We enjoyed predinner wine and cheese while we watched the neighbours take their plane out for a flight, as you do!
Sunday morning saw Mark, Owen and I back on the bikes cycling into Mount Maunganui. I stopped off at a cafe to meet up with four local ladies who, like me, have idiopathic subglottic stenosis and are members of the support group I run. It’s always lovely to chat to locals and especially ladies who have gone through similar experiences. We had a good three hour catch up.
Meanwhile, Mr A and Owen continued their cycle, before meeting up with Kay again for a beer at the fisherman’s club and lunch at an Asian restaurant.
We then cycled back to Kay and Frank’s, packed up the car and farewelled Owen as he headed off to fly back to Auckland, and then back to Melbourne. A fabulous long weekend for all of us.