This country is not short of beautiful places to visit. Around every corner, there’s a new experience waiting to be had. A hidden hot pool, a mountain to climb, a river mouth to explore, another little country town or a cafe randomly situated in the middle of nowhere.

The other day we took another beautiful drive following the road we’ve driven for the past few weeks. Early mornings and we’ve wanted to stop to watch the sunrise but, being on our way to work, didn’t afford such a treat. It was the weekend and we went with intention, not to snap the sunrise, we’d slept too late for that, but on our trips to Taupo, we’d spotted a cafe that we’d wanted to visit. So, as the fog began to lift, we set off for this little patch of quirky beauty.

‘The Art deco Cafe’ in the Eskdale Valley isn’t too far out of Napier and well worth a visit.

You may be wondering why pics of animals!! Well not only does it have AMAZING food, but it also has its own little farmlet. That’s the beauty of this place. The setting, at the base of the mountains,’ affords its own serenity and all the sweet little creatures wandering around do your soul good.

The decor is perhaps a little kitsch, but I guess that goes with the art deco era and I must admit I quite like it and love that the Chef, come owner, wore a crisp white uniform accompanied by REDBAND GUMBOOTS and can often be found wandering through the crowded tables with his slightly-rounded belly, checking that everyone is content and happy with their orders. It’s salt of the earth service here and it’s had us coming back for more.


We visited again recently with our Australian friends and had a lovely time around the same table we’ve sat on all our visits.

We’d taken them on a Tiki Tour. (Our term for NZ sightseeing) After a few hours Tiki Touring, we needed to refuel and decided to bypass our regular stop Six Sisters, in Napier and headed straight for the hills. Just on a side note, apparently, Six Sisters has accommodation too. You’ll find them on Airbnb. It’s a great place situated on the Marine Parade, in Napier. You can gaze out over the azure blue ocean while sipping great coffee!

But back to the Esk Valley and the Art Deco Cafe.

If you ever in the Hawke’s Bay region in New Zealand and crossing over the ranges between Napier and Taupo (said ‘Toe Paw’) be sure to stop in at The Art Deco Valley Cafe for a bite. It’ll be well worth it and don’t forget you’ll find great coffee at Six Sisters with a blue view!




The In-Between

It’s been 9 months since we arrived in New Zealand ready for an adventure.

Nine months!! January to September and yet, it still seems like we’re just ‘settling in’.


It’s an interesting time frame, don’t you think?

I’d envisioned many hours writing blogs, posting about our ventures, but for some reason, I’ve been hesitant. It wasn’t until my friend back in the west approached me to do an interview for her amazing blog ‘Into The Clearing” that it got me to thinking about this year away. I began to churn things over.

Although spring has sprung, the ground here is still cold. Mornings are frosty and there’s still snow on the mountains and even though the nights are icy, the mornings are brighter now.

Flowers are pushing their way through the dirt and many have bloomed bright and beautiful, but then there’s always those ones that take a little longer, they wait for warmer days.

In comparison, it takes nine months for a wee baby to come into this world. Some hesitate to make their entry on time. I feel like I should be blossoming better than I am right now, that there’s more for me in this space. It’s a strange feeling. Am I one of those ‘late bloomers’ or am I caught in the in-between?

So spring always gets me thinking and while this ‘gap year’ adventure has been a wonderful experience, I’m still longing for that ‘at home, at peace’ feeling. It looks like this ‘gap year’ may stretch longer than I’d anticipated and perhaps this is the reason for my reluctance to bloom.

The question is, is this ‘in-between’ my real life? Should I stop looking? Is it ok to just ‘be’ here in this space or do I need to push through this transition?

I seem to be ever longing for something that’s not coming! I’m beginning to think that there’s a lesson I may well have not learned yet. Maybe what I’m longing for won’t arrive until I reach my heavenly home or is there a moment here when I will know and say “Ah, yes, this is it!”.

I’m encouraged by the story I know from the good book, about Abraham. He became a sojourner in the land of promise, a land not his own. I guess he, like me, was looking for something too.  He dwelt in tents, with his kids, moving, watching, waiting for the promise: He was looking for a city, whose builder and maker was God and in the meantime, God provided all that he needed and he was pretty well looked after. 

I wonder if he felt like I do too, caught between persevering and promise? I wonder if he longed to put all his family photo’s on a wall or plant a tree and watch it grow?

This in-between isn’t so bad. There’s beauty everywhere if we’re willing to see.

And so, I, like Abraham (or his wife, Sarah) am sojourning here in New Zealand, an Adult Gap Year Moving from house to house. Housesitting here, housesitting there. I do have a little room in a family home when we’re not looking after someone else’s home, with a bed, a dresser and a wooden box at the foot of our bed. A few clothes hang in the little closet where our suitcase lays below, waiting to be filled for our next sojourn. It’s a simple life and it’s ok for a time.



I’m loving the adventure,

but, seriously, I do hope I get across the ‘Jordan River’ and see the promise I so long for.