Growing up in New Zealand, taking a Sunday drive was a regular event and something loads of kiwi families did. Sometimes it was a well thought out trip with a swim at the beach to look forward to, followed by a picnic or an ice cream in a cone. But more often than not, we would climb into the backseat of our family car, along with our huge dog who took up loads of space, and head off, not knowing where we would end up. And while we loved the idea of a Sunday drive, inevitably the novelty of “driving” soon wore off and one of us kids would ask “are we there yet?”
Last weekend we took a Sunday drive to give an American visitor a taste of our country’s beautiful scenery, and all within a short distance of central Auckland. Our lunch destination was The Refreshment Room, just north of Titirangi Village - it’s in the old Montana winery, with a huge deck overlooking the Waitakere Ranges. As it was a drizzly Auckland day - yes another one – we decided to head straight for lunch, with fingers and toes crossed that the weather cleared up later on.
Serving rustic Italian food made from locally produced, seasonal and organic ingredients, we chose dishes we could share - tender pork and artichoke meatballs; handmade fresh tortellini stuffed with fish, capers and herbs in a delicious light sauce, and to finish a chocolate espresso mousse cake with salted caramel ice-cream. No one cared about the weather - the food most definitely exceeded our expectations.
By mid-afternoon, the drizzle finally cleared so we headed further along Scenic Drive to the Arataki Visitors Centre, to enjoy spectacular views out over both the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours.
Driving back along winding roads lined with native bush, it reminded me of the lost art of the Sunday drive. The pleasure of simply enjoying New Zealand scenery for what it is, rather than being fixated on the destination. Here’s to more Sunday drives, no matter what day of the week, over the holiday season.