Putaruru & North

Tuesday 4th June

Time for us all to leave Matata and the great weather we have been enjoying in the sunny Bay of Plenty.  Pat & Sue were off to drop off their van in Tauranga before heading off further down country, and we were not too far behind them however we were heading in the direction of Rotorua.   A quick stop along the way between Paengaroa and Rotorua for a quick cuppa before heading into Rotorua to empty the waste tanks and refuel with petrol and LPG.  Then it was off over the Mamaku’s to Putaruru.  By this time the rain had become steadier so instead of parking on the grass outside Sue & Jeff’s we instead headed to the  Club to park on the hard surface.

putaruru 2Putaruru Club (& sunshine)

We spent three nights in Putaruru catching up with friends and family.  Sue & Jeff made us very welcome and we even managed to get a bit of washing done and dried out the the sun which decided to poke its head out after all the rain.  We made a trip or two to Over the Moon cheese factory and liberated a few of their delicious cheeses including an impressive Tomme as well as a wonderful Brie with black truffle.  

We headed out to Arapuni a couple of times to see Roy’s cousin Robert and discovered a fantastic cafe called Rhubarb.  Fantastic atmosphere, wonderful coffee and great food and very friendly staff.  What is really great is to see is it busy with both locals and tourists especially as it is not exactly located in a prime location. However in saying that, Arapuni is on the main tourist road between Rotorua and Waitomo and also on the popular cycle route of Waikato River Trails from Cambridge through to Atiamuri.

In and around Putaruru we came across a number of murals decorating buildings;

mural 2mural 1  mural 3 mural 4

And can you guess what this building was for?pigeon club yep, the Pigeon Club.

There were also a number of mosaic plaques on the footpaths around the town

plaque 1 plaque 2 plaque 3 plaque 4

Each of these is themed for the particular business they are laid in front of.  In total there are some 37 throughout the main shopping area.

Friday 7th June

Off today after first a quick trip to Arapuni to see Robert before we headed off out of town supposedly heading for Auckland, however, a change of plans along the way and we ended up at the Huntly Golf Club.  This enabled Roy to go and visit his Aunty Win at the Rest Home in Huntly, besides, we are not on a schedule are we?  The golf course took us over the other side of the Waikato river from the main road and onto another stretch of road we have not previously meandered along.   After missing the entrance to the Golf Course (note: GPS coordinates were wrong in our book), we had to unhitch the RAV and turn around  further along the road before settling in for the evening.

 golf clubHuntly Golf Course

Saturday 8th June

Off to Auckland today, first re crossing the Waikato River at the Rangiriri Bridge

 Waikato RangiririBridge crossing

It was not long before we hit the motorway and back into Auckland.  First a quick stop at the dump station in Manukau to empty the tanks and top up with water before heading off to Ambury Park.  However,  whilst driving along the section of motorway between Manuaku and the turn off to Ambury, we noticed a car overtake with the occupants waving wildly at us.  Initial thoughts were that perhaps something was wrong with the van or the tow.  It only took a second for us to realise that it was Jacky & Chris!  There goes the surprise we had planned for later in the day when we turned up unannounced on their doorstep! They followed us into the park where we had a quick catch up before making plans to watch the rugby with them later in the day.

We are now in Auckland for however long, before we head off northwards.

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