Coatesville Monthly Market

Road works, orange cones and detours provided lots of amusement last Sunday morning.  The Google maps lady sent us in circles after we got lost; she couldn’t cope with the diversions. Eventually, we reached Coatesville Market where more orange cones signalled where not to park.  We dutifully joined a queue of cars that wove along the main drag and up a side road.  

The local Coatesville Scouts (and parents) made awesome carpark marshals directing us to spaces in a huge field (the local pony club) all for a gold coin donation.

Walking down from the carpark

Walking down from the carpark

We meandered down a path to the Coatesville Hall. Stalls were set up amongst the trees on the Village Green.  Despite it being a wintry Sunday morning, there was wall to wall people. Stalls crammed with: arts and crafts, jewellery and clothing; bric a brac, garden sculptures and plants; fresh bread, pretzels and artisan produce and so much more. 

Stalls on the Village Green

Stalls on the Village Green

More halls inside the Village Hall too

More halls inside the Village Hall too

After a longer than anticipated trip we were ready for a coffee.  Food trucks and street food vendors lined a side street with everything from mussel fritters to Thai street food, pizzas, empanadas and some amazing looking home baked scones.  Eventually we found the coffee van in the playcentre carpark.

Food trucks line a side road

Food trucks line a side road

Thai street food ready to cook

Thai street food ready to cook

MouthwateringThai street food

MouthwateringThai street food

Fruit tarts were very tempting

Fruit tarts were very tempting

Home baked date scones

Home baked date scones

Coatesville Market has a very relaxed community atmosphere so if you fancy getting some Christmas shopping done, then mark Sunday 1 November or Sunday 6 December in your calendar now.  The market is held year round, on the first Sunday of the month (except January) 10am – 2pm.

Just sitting around listening to music

Just sitting around listening to music

But be patient when it comes to parking; it is one lane in and the same way out.  We laughed when the young kid directing us to the exit, said to drive fast so we didn’t hold up the traffic – not an easy feat in a hatchback on a rutted country lane!

Have a great week.

Michelle

Sunday Markets

As kids Sunday drives never appeared to have a definite destination in mind – it was simply a case of Mum or Dad saying, ‘let’s just see where we end up’. Whether life has got too busy, we don’t make time for leisurely pursuits or we feel the need for every outing to have a purpose, it’s time to bring back the Sunday drive and explore places nearby – you never know what you might discover.

After Saturday’s miserable damp and grey, Sunday’s winter solstice dawned brighter so with my parents in tow we headed off for a Sunday drive to the Hobsonville Point Farmers Market.

Outside stalls too, including freshly made pizzas

Outside stalls too, including freshly made pizzas

Walking down from ferry's park and ride

Walking down from ferry's park and ride

The seaplane hangar at the old Hobsonville Air Force base (closed 2002) provides a spacious location – children, dog and weather friendly too with heaps of free car parking and bike racks, it’s held every Saturday and Sunday 9am – 1pm.  

Racks for bikes big and small

Racks for bikes big and small

With a saxophonist serenading, we enjoyed the relaxed convivial atmosphere and chatted with the stallholders about their products, coffee in hand:

  • Fruit and veges
  • Seedlings
  • Freshly baked breads, pies and cakes
  • Artisan products:
    • Spicy rubs, marinades and sauces
    • Honey, relishes, cheese, juices and so much more.
Vegetable, citrus and herb seedlings

Vegetable, citrus and herb seedlings

Breakfast treats, pies and pastries

Breakfast treats, pies and pastries

Fresh produce, free range eggs and more

Fresh produce, free range eggs and more

Hobsonville Point Farmers Market – every Saturday and Sunday 9am – 1pm

For more information and how to get there visit www.hobsonvillepointfarmersmarket.co.nz. Fingers crossed one day the weekday commuter ferry services will extend to weekends too. It would be so relaxing to start your trip with a ferry ride from Auckland city.

No ferries on weekends but a great place sit and enjoy view

No ferries on weekends but a great place sit and enjoy view

Get out and enjoy your city, town or surrounds next weekend.  You might discover somewhere new or take a trip down memory lane, like my parents who last visited the Hobsonville Air Force base more than 40 years ago – my uncle and family lived on Base in the 1960s when it was home to Sunderland, Walrus and Catalina seaplanes.

Michelle

Long weekend lunches

With all this hot weather, and I’m definitely not complaining, Aucklanders will head to the beaches in droves again today - most in search of a swim, a picnic and at some point, a shady spot to escape that sun.  But if you’re looking for a more relaxing way to spend your Anniversary Day or any summer Sunday come to think of it, why not jump on the North Western Motorway and head for Riverhead. 

The sign says it all - NZ's oldest riverside tavern

The sign says it all - NZ's oldest riverside tavern

Nestled on the banks of the upper Waitemata Harbour you’ll find NZ’s oldest riverside tavern - The Riverhead.  Fabulous decks and grassy lawns look out over the Riverhead inlet which provides a real challenge for boaties, with boats only able to navigate to The Riverhead’s jetty two hours either side of high tide.  As you can see from the photo below, it was low tide the day we had lunch on their deck.

Overlooking Riverhead inlet at low tide

Overlooking Riverhead inlet at low tide

Funnily enough when I mentioned to my Dad that we’d been to the Riverhead pub for lunch, his first question was “how many bikies were there?” None it happens that day but when my parents called in for lunch the following week, having been at the Huapai Golf Club down the road, there were a large number of gleaming motorbikes parked outside.  Things have changed dramatically from the early 90s when Dad was in the beer industry and The Riverhead Tavern attracted a somewhat different bikie crowd!

Enjoying lunch on The Riverhead's decks overlooking the inlet

Enjoying lunch on The Riverhead's decks overlooking the inlet

The Riverhead is now a Gastropub with a very extensive menu which will keep everyone happy, from salads, steaks, pasta, fish and chips to pizza and a kids menu too.  Open 7 days for lunch and dinner with brunch available from 10am on weekends, its only 20 minutes from Auckland’s CBD.  It was extremely busy on the Sunday we went so recommend you make a booking on 09 412 8902.  And if you love live music, Sunday afternoons (and some public holidays too) is the time to go and kick back on the grassy lawns - check out the website for details.  The Riverhead

The Riverhead's haloumi pear and rocket salad

The Riverhead's haloumi pear and rocket salad

And don’t forget to stop in at Boric Food Market on your way home to pick up some local produce for the week ahead or grab a coffee and enjoy sitting on their shady deck, before you get back on the road. Boric Food Market

Enjoy your long weekend no matter what you decide to do - I might just head for the local beach, it’s only a short walk away!

Michelle

Take a Sunday Drive this Summer

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.  

Manukau Harbour from Arataki Visitor Centre, W aitakere Ranges Regional Park

Manukau Harbour from Arataki Visitor Centre, Waitakere Ranges Regional Park

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.

Enjoy

Michelle