Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Northland Trip - Stage Two

It took a fair while to get out of Whangarei. After picking up my car (the prominence given to its price caused a fair amount of amusement to my family when I caught up with them)

I had to check out whether Caffeine is still any good (I was living in Whangarei when it opened, and I'm glad it has kept it up as a fine place to have coffee), take a look at the new library (which was even giving away books!) and have a general wander around the streets. This produced quite a haul of books. One thing I hadn’t noticed on my first day was that the building in which I had my very first job has gone; in its place, a carpark.

Once I did leave, it took hours to go a whole 21 kilometres! I went out through Tutukaka(the hotel is gone!), Matapouri (far more pleasant) and into Whananaki South – a very odd place, as the road just stops and anyone going there has to go by way of a footbridge.Out through Whananaki North (famous for being the place where three brothers who became MP’s (one is still the Minister of Foreign Affairs) grew up),I found myself at 6:00 to be on the main road north just 21 kilometres from Whangarei.

But Paihia was not much further and there was little to detain me, apart from random churches although I was a little curious about this homestay – it seems to be a place for homes to stay, rather than a home for travelers.

Leaving the hostel for dinner, my plan was to go as far as the first nice place – that happened to be next door. The menu had not impressed, but on the way out, I saw a girl with an amazing … chowder, and just had to have one. It was truly good. The main course was a bit too fusion for me – the fish and new potatoes were good, the asparagus OK, I could tolerate cucumber but the rest, I had to leave.

I had two nights in Paihia, so went out to the old farm to have a bit of a look around. Unfortunately, it was a bit too wet, so I went to town – Okaihau. I was impressed to see the butchery is still going strong, although the bakery is not doing so well. A fellow came over and talked to me as I was peering in, told me the recent history of this building. He was a teacher, waiting for the school prize-giving to start. If it had been the college one, and not the primary school, I might have gone along for old time's sake. My old school still looks pretty good, but not poor old Kaikohe. Now that’s a sad town, lots of empty buildings. I think you know a town is in trouble when the prime main street shops have been taken over by second-hand dealers, car parts shops and, most odd of all, monumental masons (three of them!)

Since Russell is THE place to go in the Bay of Islands, I thought I’d better at least go and have dinner. I didn’t stay long – a quick beer in a vastly remodeled Duke of Malborough and some fish and chips, and it was back to Paihia. Neither are really my kind of place, so I headed away pretty much as soon as I awoke, after getting through the police blockade - there was a bad beating here in the early hours of the morning.


Blogger Make Tea Not War said...

I used to live in Kaikohe for a bit- in the late 80s and my mother taught at Okaihau College.

9:17 AM  

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