Yesterday we set off again for another Kiwi Adventure.
Our little gap year has been all about making space to catch our breath, taking time to smell the roses so to speak. Lately tho, we’ve had a few unseen pressures and we’ve both been a little tired and a tad stressed.
Perhaps having one car, borrowed at that and needing to travel in three different directions, morning and evening, adds to the sense of pressure, however, this is the kind of compromise one encounters when one has chosen to live small, so it’s ok.
We know how important it is to make time for each other and so, this weekend we set off for another meander through this beautiful country.
Up early, bags and bathers in hand and we were out the door long before the teenager had opened his eyes! Hubby had heard about a watering hole on the river near where he’d been working the past week or so. “How about we head out that way,” he offered, it was like a dangling carrot to get us through the week and I was keen as mustard.
We chose to drive past the turnoff that led to the river and instead, head for TIKOKINO Sadly, Tokikino turned out to be a sleepy little town, on its last legs, however, it did have some cute vintage houses with lots of potential and a Pub / Cafe, but that didn’t open till 11am and we were hungry so after a two minute loop of the town, we drove onward and came upon ONGAONGA.
What a lovely surprise it was, small and quiet, but lovely just the same. What was especially lovely was to discover the heartbeat of the little cafe convenience store. We sat out the front at the green iron-framed setting and waited for our much-needed breakfast.
It was great spot to watch the farmers drive up in their mega machines and casually parked across the street. Truckers stopped in for a bite to eat breaking up their journey, while young blokes, sporting red bands gumboots, drove their utes almost to the front door, up close to the petrol bowser near where we sat. The window wound down their window so they could yell out hello.
This is Mathew Ascott from Scott Ag.
We watched as the owner ran out of the shop, leant into one passenger’s window for a quick hello, grab his EFTPOS card and return with a pie and drink. It seemed everyone here knew each other but we didn’t feel on the outskirt. They even stopped to chat with us.
If you get a chance to call into ONGA ONGA don’t forget to check out the historic townsite and drop a coin in the Restoration Box across the road from the Cafe and then walk down and check out the historic buildings on the edge of town.
Our enjoyable brunch was followed by a trek back toward Maraekakaho to find the river hole we’d been told about. After crossing a number of OneWay bridges at the last one we saw a gate on the side just before the bridge (see in the pic above) and made our way down to the river to cool off. Delightful.
Breathtakingly cool but well worth it. I only wish I had swimming booties as walking over the river stones is a bit tricky and somewhat painful in bare feet.
You’d think that was enough of an adventure, but no, we thought we’d have one last refreshment stop on our way home. “Filly and Chook” is a bar/cafe and too it’s credit does have a lovely outdoor seating area under pretty trees, so much potential. It caught our eye on the way out to Tokokino. I’d like to say it was a worthwhile stop, but neither of us was very impressed. It wasn’t the building or the surroundings so much, but rather the ‘atmosphere’. It just didn’t seem to fit the country surrounds and seriously lacked warmth – perhaps the grumpy owner didn’t help matters.
It felt like the buildings were just plonked on the edge of a property to make money and had no heartbeat. Needless to say, we won’t be going back in a hurry. To be fair, there is hope because the property is for sale. Perhaps someone will come in and breath in the life it needs.
If you didn’t get out this weekend, I hope you at least enjoyed reading about our little venture. #karafamadventure