Breaking up the Road Trip

It’s hard to believe that people were still swimming in the ocean over the weekend. Waking to discover a wintry blast blanketing us this morning, an extra layer pulled on, a gentle prod to polish those boots and a timely reminder to put the winter duvet on the beds.

Long weekends away are good for the mind and body, and a wonderful excuse to catch up with friends and family. In New Zealand we’re spoilt for choice for destinations close to home.  A car journey of less than three hours is perfect for a weekend away.  Any longer and you lose too much time travelling; and the kids start to ask “are we nearly there yet” way too many times.

Child friendly stops

When you are travelling with children, inevitably someone gets hungry, wants a toilet stop or simply needs to run around for quarter of an hour so it makes sense to plan ahead to ensure there is somewhere child friendly along the way to break up the trip. 

Heading for Mount Maunganui last Friday we stopped twice on the way down (once on the way back).  Getting out and having a photo taken holding up the giant L&P bottle was something we did as kids too.

 The girls holding up the giant L&P bottle - world famous in New Zealand

The girls holding up the giant L&P bottle - world famous in New Zealand

The Goldfields Railway train was pulling in as we stopped for lunch at Waikino Railway Cafe so luckily we bet the lunch rush.  It’s an old-fashioned place with homely fare: thick toasted sandwiches, freshly baked scones, home-made bacon and egg pies and quiches.  The aroma of logs burning in the open fire warmed what would have been the station’s waiting room, crammed with tables and chairs it made for a cosy welcoming place.

 Lunch stop - Waikino Station Cafe

Lunch stop - Waikino Station Cafe

Top picks between Auckland and Tauranga

  • Woodturners Cafe, 750m along Highway 2 towards Tauranga from intersection with Highway 27
  • Paeroa – L&P, world famous in NZ
  • Waikino Station Cafe

If you have more time, walking or cycling along the paths through the Karangahake Gorge would make a fun family day out.  Finish with a swim in the natural pools underneath the bridge at Karangahake Domain carpark (near Waikino Station).

 Swimming underneath bridge in Karangahake Gorge

Swimming underneath bridge in Karangahake Gorge

Or visit the Waihi Gold Mine – you can walk the perimeter and stretch your legs for free, or tours of the gold-mining museum and working mine are available too. Waihi, Southern Coromandel, New Zealand's Heart of Gold

 Waihi Gold Mine - view from perimeter

Waihi Gold Mine - view from perimeter

For what to do over a long weekend at Mount Maunganui, look out for Wednesday’s post.

Michelle