Dinner, fishing, farewells.

We were back at Ambury Park late Sunday (18th) where we set ourselves up with the guest accommodation (tent) set up in front of the van.  Dinner was a simple Chinese Dumplings with some amazing side dishes, Antony joined us as well as Kenny, Alex’s friend over for the weekend from Brisbane.  Kenny flew out early Monday morning so we were all up and about fairly early.  Some members of the touring party were very energetic and headed up Mangere mountain.

mangere 7Main vent mangere 1Late lava dome in the centre

mangere 3Looking south

mangere 4One of the most expensive bridges in New Zealand as a result of a dispute between unions and central Government in the 1980s resulting in a two year hiatus in the construction.

mangere 5Looking down on the  old oxidation ponds for the main sewage system for Auckland.  With new technology and a different approach these ponds have been reclaimed and are now a public area with walk and cycle tracks.

Tuesday and a bit of an emotional rollercoaster of a day, but more on that later.  First off, we had a dinner organised by Alex for the four of us to attend.  She had booked us into the French Cafe in Symonds St, Auckland, where we all agreed that we would have the 8 course degustation menu.  What followed was a fantastic evening of food, wine, service and company. 

menuThe menu


First,  the breads with choice of butters followed by the Amuse Bouche of sweet corn soup and goats cheese beignets.


Tomato Consommé                    King Fish Ceviche          


Risotto                                       Quail


Egg yolk ravioli                           Snapper


Duck                                         Strawberries

602235_10151519370727994_522265829_n Chocolate

Roy and Alex also had the wines which were recommended for each course.

All in all, an outstanding and memorable evening which we will not forget for a very long time.  Thanx Alex.

Wednesday and we headed off to Whakatane, Alex and Ants in the RAV4 with Roy and Bernice following in the van.  Alex had wanted to catch up with her uncle John plus she was eager to get out and catch some fish.   On yet another stunning day in the Bay, Bernice, Alex, Ants and John headed out for a days fishing.     


Alex and her catch              Ants reeling them in

sizesize 4

Bernice with the one that went back   John with Alex’s catch.

We managed to get ourselves a nice feed of snapper before we headed back to shore as poor Ants had a bout of providing burley for the fishing, he was duly returned to solid ground and Julie came and joined us a for a bit more fishing.  Once the fishing was over, Julie and Alex leapt overboard for a swim to cool off.

oceanAlex in the sea

Back to shore and time to clean up the boat, and fillet the fish.

concentration Alex filleting

dog fish skins fish for dinner 2  

Julie feeding Chum fish skins          Alex trying the same

fish for dinner 3 Dinner outside – guess what?

That evening one of John’s friends brought around a striped marlin (in large pieces) to be smoked.

smoke 1 smoke 2 

This was done the next morning for some four hours, a crayfish was also cooked (not smoked)


The crayfish and a couple of pieces of smoked marlin accompanied us back to Les and Steve’s in Auckland.  The crayfish was consumed as an entree and some of the marlin was made into a pate, both of which were consumed with gusto.

We returned to Auckland on Friday as Alex was flying back to London on Saturday evening. We left the van at John’s and all headed back to Auckland in the RAV4.   Alex goes home with a NZ tan to replace her UK ‘tan’!  A very full on three weeks for her,  we loved having her around again, and we will miss her.  Until next year..xx

We spent the weekend catching up with chores, shopping, family and friends.  It just so happened that last November, John had purchased a very cheap airfare to Auckland for Monday returning Tuesday, so he joined us at Steve & Les’  for a brief overnight visit.  We had a few appointments to attend to, fitting them all in in-between transportation duties.  Monday night and all three of Steve and Les’ daughter, partners and children came round for dinner along with Antony and Neil.  A fun evening had by all. 

Appointments all done, we headed back to Whakatane yesterday (Wedensday 27th), ready to head out fishing again today (Thursday).  A good number of snapper were caught before heading back to land .  Another stunning day on the water and in the Bay of Plenty, although Roy did manage to knock his hat off into the water, followed by his glasses ……. and his fishing gear!  We are here for another few days now, to get him replacement spectacles! 

white island 

Oh and yes there was some activity on White Island as can be seen in this photo of the plume of smoke and steam.

3 Responses to “Dinner, fishing, farewells.”

  1. JLG Says:

    The meal at French Café looks nice but does it bother anyone else that each course is more or less the same palette of colours?

  2. Alex Vannini Says:

    James I’m sure it wouldn’t bother you if you had eaten it…. didn’t bother us!!

    Ma and Pa, miss you already, was so nice being home. It’s absolutely freezing here! I’m guessing as you’re not here already, you didn’t win lotto last Saturday? Oh well, fingers crossed for this week!

  3. Bernice Vannini Says:

    It wasn’t really the same colours, I blame that on the cellphone photography 😉
    miss you too Alex, and it’s sooo hot here that I am ‘almost’ wishing for cooler weather! No lotto win as yet but maybe tonight. Xx

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