There is often nothing better in New Zealand’s summertime than to find your own piece of paradise and park up for a picnic. And a dip in the sea, when the water is not too fresh, or the ankles can cope…
When you can combine that with some great local food treats, it really is a winning formula.
And so it was one recent blue sky day, “Magical Mangawhai”, magical indeed - a northern east coast beach area, with pohutakawas flowering, a sure summer sign post.
With dreamy blue skies, see nature at its finest
Most fortunately, our day on the road was under stunning blue skies. Armed with a few picnic essentials, some gravel forestry roads heading to a secluded ocean beach beckoned. We found a brilliant white sand beach, and an overall outstanding back-to-nature experience.
And there are many other nearby picnic choices, including the equally dreamy estuary, moored boats bobbing ahead.
Pictures tell the story here, perfect summer spots to lose yourself in thoughts of nothing, cold drink and sandy sandwich in hand.
A shake down a little while later, and it’s back to reality - but the charming reality of some of Mangawhai’s local food stops.
It’s that chocolate kind of time…
Don’t miss Mangawhai's stylish chocolatier, making beautiful chocolates, focussing on local classic tastes.
Enter their chocolate shop to the smell of rich chocolate, and rejuvenating cool tranquility. There’s a New Zealand classic feijoa chocolate creation, kiwifruit, and, the most local of all, Mangawhai sea salt. There’s an eye-popping range of chocolate to buy, and marshmallows and other sweets…
The chocolate is made on site, and there are generously sized windows to watch them hard at work. Kids would swoon at some of the amply sized moulds. And there’s a great video running, explaining the chocolate making process. Oak pews built in 1956, on loan from a local church, make it a very comfortable spot to learn a bit more about what has inspired this successful local business.
Dizzy Lizzy, happy days indeed
Not far along, and another wee delight, as gorgeous milkbar. A bit like something out of Happy Days (if you’re old enough to know what this means!). Yes, of course there was still room for a final homemade gelato. It was a hot day, after all.
If you have time for a drive around the rural surrounds, you’ll enjoy roaming countryside views. You cannot miss the burgeoning olive groves the area is well-known for, and at the right time there’s a range of other farm gate produce stalls to take your fancy.
And who wouldn’t want s’more?
S’more, yes please. What better way to celebrate the end of a perfect day, a day so good that you’d rather it didn’t end, than with simple s’mores. Made, naturally, with Mangawhai’s finest chocolate and handmade marshmallows… for more, actually s’more to be correct, click here.