Pottering Around the Pa(s)

Woke up to 14.7degrees at 7.00am on Wednesday 5th.  It was very calm but a bit misty. We knew it was going to be another great day and were keen to get going.  In anticipation of the sunny day to come, we put on our shorts and walking sandals and shoes, chatted to fellow motorhomers at the POP we were staying at and then set off mid morning. First stop was Taumarumaru DOC Reserve, Coopers Beach.  The walking tracks include three defended pa sites and related archaeological features.

We headed first to the two-sons pa which was actually on a piece of land that would have been prime real estate. On the way, we took a path down to Coopers Beach. We didn’t appreciate what a lovely beach it is until now as we’d only driven through the built up area and not seen the beach. Once we got to the top there were stunning views right around Doubtless Bay. Summer had made an appearance today, the water was shimmering from the sun shining on it and we spent ages just enjoying it and thinking how lucky we were. Ross spotted what he thought was a blue penguin swimming in a pool with kelp but unfortunately by the time I got there it had disappeared. We checked out the other 2 pa sites (including the fathers pa site (pa’s pa?) and headed back to the car park.

It seems pa sites were the order of the day as on our way to Mangonui we visited Rangikapati Pa. There was a really interesting sign showing the workings of the Maori village, the first really informative interpretation of the Maori history that we have seen and it helped to envisage how the site might have looked. We only had a short walk to the lookout with views all over Mangonui (including the pub and the fish and chip shop) and Hihi.  Our great little binoculars have certainly proved a godsend and I was surprised to hone in on a few gardens. Gardening doesn’t seem to be a strong point up here, I think the weather and soil has something to do with that. Lots of tropical plants and heaps of palm trees.

Next it was off to Mangonui to do the Heritage Walk of the town. There were 22 listed and seeing as the average time to walk it was an hour and a half, we thought eating lunch at this point and getting some sustenance would be a good idea.  Starting point was the Courthouse and along the street to three early cottages. Then off along St Andrews walkway. We couldn’t make out how it could have been a very early road, it was more like a bike track. We climbed (most of the streets were quite steep) and weaved our way around, walking past churches, a school, old homesteads and buildings. It was good having the heritage signs with information outside each building which gave a purpose and plan to our exploring.  I was surprised to see three really dark pink Magnolia trees that were flowering.

Then it was back to Taipa to try and catch the bakery before it shut at 5.00pm. We’d discovered that about half an hour before they close, they reduce the price on some of their bread and baking.  We were hoping to get some iced apple bread twists which we’d got a few days earlier for half price for $1.00. They are a real bargain. We were in luck and went away happy and thinking this really is a great little bakery and it’s just as well we are leaving tomorrow.

Later on in the evening we decided to have a night off cooking and bought fish and chips from Coopers Beach.  We had really fresh snapper (Ross chose which pieces we wanted and then they cooked it). It wasn’t cheap but oh so delicious.

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