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    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    DJ's Famous Tiki Tour of the Far North

    Normally when we drive up north of Auckland it is to join the boat and see the far north from the water. This time we are with our friends, DJ and Lu and we are exploring the top bit of New Zealand. DJ, the designated driver, a Tour Guide extraordaire.
    We left Auckland, it was dull, then it rained. Pity as the landscape was grey and uninteresting. We stopped at the Kaiwaka Dutch Deli for Cheese buying. These people bring in the most beautiful cheese from Holland and it is a must.
    To the left of the Cheese Shop, is this amazing looking restaurant, Eutopia Could be a Hobbit Pit Stop.
    We toyed with lunch at Eutopia, which I must admit is a fabulously eccentrically decorated eatery. They didn’t have the food we fancied so we soldiered on. A detour to Waipu Beach was fruitless. Everything closed. We are a bit previous for this road trip. One bonus though, not too many other tourists. The hunger pains were kicking in, so we entered Whangarei Proper, instead of bypassing, which is the norm and found a great little pub the Jovial Judge. Based in the old courthouse, it had a fire going and looked most welcoming.

    The menu was interesting and we ordered between us, some tasty food. Nice little find. We didn’t want to be stuck with big fat tasteless Panini, stuffed full of raw spinach and sprouts,
    The Jovial Judge had Oysters, Calamari, Scallops on Mash (DJ's choice)
    Bangers and Mash (me, nice plump Pork sausages with onion jam and gravy)
    Just what we needed…Perfect.
    Next stop Whangarei Falls, never been there before, (cause we always bypass!) nice toilets, falls impressive, a good drop.

    Shame about the rain. But that didn’t deter our intrepid guide, this was a falls day… he could hunt them out... instead bypassing of Pahia, we took that route, and found the Haruru Falls, out of Pahia. We have been to Pahia umpteen times and have never seen the falls. Learning a lot on this Tiki Tour .
    We then drove on ,got caught in a traffic jam, South of Kerikeri, ironically caused by a crash, so much for the notice carefully put up by the Transport Department.
    Did a 'uey' to get out of the jam and took a scenic tour to Waimate North 15 kms and then wound our way back onto the main highway till we were well and truly passed the crash. Might be a long diversion but better than sittingtwiddling your thumbs. Finally
    we reached Manganui.

    We did a few extra kms finding our way around, looking for Mill Bay Road, the location of our destination… found out later we had passed the sign twice and didn’t see it, but hey, we got there in the end.
    Accacia Lodge is a small Motel complex with a heated pool. Mine host Roger is very charming and nothing is too much trouble. A very pretty vista.
    Bed is comfortable and what looked like a shower, that could be like a Chinese torture dripping tap, in fact was a good solid rush.
    Time for pre-dinner drinks, and then we walked into the village for dinner. The first place we came to was The World Famous “Manganui Fish Shop”. If it is good enough for the World it’s good enough for us. And it was. They made all sort of seafood salads…We grabbed the plump little shrimps with a good dipping sauce while we waited for the Fish and Chips.
    They were frying Hapuka, (grouper) one of my favourites. Great fish and chips. Everything came in disposable…so wrap up your dishes andin to the bin. Saves on washing up. Might be killing trees and things that make plastic, but we are saving water.. So end of Day one.
    It rained as we walked home so much for the winterless north.

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