Christmas was over and Boxing Day was done and dusted. The days leading up to New Years Eve all melted into one, sunbathing, taking walks, visiting neighbouring beach towns and eating delicious food (gluten free pancakes above!).
We visited the small town of Tairua a few times, it’s much bigger than tiny Pauanui, and only a short drive away. I also spotted the most amazing car on one of my visits!
My father couldn’t help himself and had to jump in front of the lens. I think this habit runs in the family.
We stopped off at little cafes for lunch, with no need to watch the clock, and instead just enjoy the day and relax.
Salads for lunch by the harbour are a good way to spend an hour.
I loved spotting all the iconic New Zealand signs, Mr Four Square above, being one of them.
Many an afternoon was spent on the waterways in Pauanui. The kids would go fishing and swimming and I would soak up the sun as a spectator.
Boats the size of houses would motor by, and stand up paddle boards were a popular means of transport on the water.
I made sure I paid a visit to the beach every afternoon. Relaxing, people watching and magazine reading, the reality of everyday life seemed a million miles away.
You also get the added bonus of a daily air show. With the airfield at Pauanui being directly behind the beach, you are treated to dozens of tiny planes taking off and performing all sorts of acrobatic manoeuvres.
When I’m done sunbathing and people watching for the day, I love to walk along the stretch of the beach. It’s so very beautiful, and more natural than lots of other perfectly manicured stretches of sand you’ll see. I’ve been to beaches in Hawaii, Bondi in Sydney, islands in Greece and the coast of Turkey, but this beach is always my favourite.
And you’ll find loads of what we call Pussy Willows sprouting up along the edge of the grass. They remind me of my childhood, when I would pick a bunch to take home and dye the ends with food colouring, to display a rainbow of them in a vase.
On one particular evening, I decided I wanted a pizza for dinner. As luck would have it, The Kiwi Outdoor Oven Company had a pop-up pizza restaurant at the end of the beach. With *drumroll please, gluten free pizza!!!
Their wood fired pizza’s are amazing, and the owners are great quality too! We chatted away as my delicious pizza cooked to perfection in the oven.
Diners sat outside on the tables and chairs or picnicked on the grass, tucking into their dinner.
My pizza was finally ready!
Pineapple on pizza haters, keep your comments to yourself!
I devoured nearly the whole pizza, before I admit defeat and willingly handed over the remaining slices to my family.
More sunny days, and more time was spent in the water….
and on Jack Sparrow the little motor boat.
We visited more neighbouring beach towns, including Whangamata, where we found a Jemma sized car.
And the owners let her test it out.
Lunch was devoured at Soul Burger, a popular burger restaurant owned by my good friend’s sister and brother-in-law. Their burgers are so good! You can check out their menu here.
I escaped to Whangamata beach for some sunbathing time. Plenty more people were on the shoreline, though it doesn’t look it in the photo, but Whangamata is MUCH larger than Pauanui, so every surfer and their dog spends their day on the sand.
The evenings floated by, and we continued to take our evening stroll. Or in the case of Prince Drew, he sat on his throne and had his servants pull him.
To Be Continued.