A Weekend Away on the Bay of Plenty Coast
Sometimes a great weekend getaway is as good as a week away. If that getaway takes you to a beautiful, out-of-the-way place, even better.
Such was the case last weekend.
After packing a small amount of fishing gear, and a chilly bin of food and drink, we headed out from Rotorua toward the Bay of Plenty coastline. A scenic 45 minute drive along Lake Rotorua and the surrounding hillside saw us arrive at the relaxed seaside village of Maketu. It was early afternoon, and the locals were out enjoying the sun, making the most of the early summer conditions. The tide was on the rise, and as the afternoon wore on, the surf club car park began to fill as more and more surfers arrived to make the most of the 4-5ft waves. The Bay of Plenty is reknowned for its surf, and with the warm summer temperatures, the Maketu beachfront was transformed into a vibrant family playground with local families happily sharing their beach with visitors from near and far.
I am not a Bay of Plenty local, but the greetings and welcomes received from residents certainly made me feel like I was a long-standing member of the community.
As the waves began to mellow at Maketu, we drove over the hill to another seaside village, Pukehina, to try our hand at surf-casting. As daylight faded, we had yet to catch ourselves any of the early season snapper or kawahai that had hoped would be on our dinner plates. As we packed our fishing gear back into the van (our hearts a little forlorn), two local fishermen puleed in alongside us.
“No Luck?” one asked, leaning across from the the passenger seat.
“Nope, nothing . . .” I replied.
“Do you like flounder?” the other asked.
“Yes, love it,but we don’t have our flounder net with us. Shame.” I answered back.
“No, I mean, do you WANT some flounder?” the driver replied.
“Really?” I was stunned.
“Yeah, we caught heaps yesterday . . . my wife is sick of eating them. I’ll go home and get you some . . . “
And with that, they were off down the road. A short fifteen minutes later, the two gentlemen (John and Tama were their names) returned with gorgeous pan-sized flounder (carefully wrapped to keep cool), along with their contact details for the next time we visited Pukehina.
With dinner sorted thanks to the friendly locals and promises of a return before the holiday season, we headed back to our campsite. We made a fresh meal of pan fried Waihi Bay flounder, green salad, cool ginger beer, and a warm fuzzy feeling that this weekend was one of the best weekends we had had for a long, long, time.
Thanks to everyone we met last weekend. You’ve made this summer one of the best already.