Saturday, February 25, 2012


We were up at sparrow’s fart, as they say here, to get to Wellington airport by 0720, in order to catch our 0820 flight to Auckland. We landed early, picked up our rental car (a RAV4, to fit 5 people in), and set off for Tairua along State Highway 25. We stopped on the way for some breakfast at the Pukeko’s Nest café, then drove up to find our bach. And when we arrived, what a strange sight greeted our eyes! The bach is named Morocco, and this is clearly something that the owners are quite keen on. The furnishings are quite eclectic, with drapes, tapestries and cloths hanging all round the place, over doors and windows. The house appears to have been built around an antique Middle-Eastern doorway of dubious provenance (the importation of wood into New Zealand being strictly controlled by the Biosecurity Police). The living arrangements are quite open-plan, which means a bit of planning is required for getting up, going to bed and showering whilst preserving everyone’s modesty.

There is also a bizarre breakfast bar-cum-sink and top unit made of stainless steel. The house is clearly lived in for part of the year, with the owners’ stuff packed away in drawers, cupboards and wardrobes. We arranged ourselves as best we could through the upstairs and downstairs areas – I’d call them bedrooms but that would be too limiting a description. We explored the grounds, which include a creek (for which a dinghy and kayak were supplied) and a back garden across the bridge which included a vegetable garden, from which we were exhorted to help ourselves. We lunched in a café in Tairua, then explored the town, including the i-site where we booked ourselves onto the Cathedral Cove trip; and went for a walk and exploration along the beach, as well as stocking up on supplies from the local Four Square.

In the evening we walked back into the thriving metropolis, there to dine at a restaurant that had caught our eye earlier, Gauguin’s Shells. We arrived and ordered, and had a bit of a discussion about the steak I’d ordered:

“The steak takes 40 minutes”
“Why? It does’t take 40 minutes to cook a steak?”
“The chef’s French…that’s how he does it”
“OK, but please don’t keep everyone else waiting – can you bring their meals out when they’re ready?”

So we ordered some wine, and chatted amongst ourselves for a while. The while grew longer and longer, and nothing was appearing from the kitchen, so we got up to ask. At this point the maitre d’ goes into the kitchen, and emerges looking very flustered.

“I’ve got some good news and some bad news” he told us.
“What’s the bad news?”
“The waitress forgot to pass your order into the kitchen. It’s only just been handed to the chef.”
“So what’s the good news?”
“I can offer you 50% off the cost of your dinner, and bring you some starters and bread on the house while you wait.”

Well, by this stage, it was late, we were very hungry and also somewhat annoyed. So we got up to leave. At this point he said he would like us to come back tomorrow night, and he would still offer us 50% off the cost of main courses.

We walked home, and ate a dinner of buttered toast and crumpets, with honey and fig & ginger jam raided from the larder at the bach.


  1. Greetings all and hello to Nicola's family,

    You don't know me, but I'm Rory's sister. Oh, he didn't tell you he had one? Ah. Well, it's because I'm in an institution. Make of that what you will.

    Sounds like you're all having a blast in the wilds of NZ. Love the sound of your bach - all a bit AbFab - do you have a Moroccan servant called Yentob?

    Shame about your botched dins, but hope you make up for it tonight. Clearly the steak is trouble. Go with the fish, Rory. Go with the fish.

    My life hasn't been quite so exciting. A brief trip to Torquay (Basiiiil!) with added fire-in-the-hotel-drama. (They let me out sometimes on 2- day-release) followed by an exciting week of pneumonia and a day's adventure in Margate A&E with blood tests and an x-ray as bonus. All true.

    But please don't worry. No need to send expensive gifts - I'm nearly fully recovered and expect to be pulling the heads off the daffodils as normal soon.

    Enjoy your hols. I've certainly enjoyed mine.

    Love, H x

  2. Actually I don't think your description of Morocco does it justice Rory, it had to be seen to be believed! Not to mention the spiders' webs and dust bunnies in every corner, the Great Dane hairs covering everything and the all-pervading smell of huge wet dog! Still, it had a certain homely charm as long as you didn't look too carefully and watched where you sat (if you could find a surface that wasn't covered in cushions, throws, exotic memorabilia or such), and the creek in the garden with kayak was great!

    And he did tell us about you Heide, so don't worry, he's not ashamed of you or anything.

    S xx