A hidden gem in NZ

I discovered Otaki by acodent, on my way down the North island towards Wellington.

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I started from Auckland on 28 Feb, on the west, up to Whangarei (Fangaray) on the east coast to stay with Bernie and David then on their 40 ft cruiser for 6 days in the Bay of Islands, then downwards Wellington, the North’s capital, then via Roturua for a few days (Hobbiton, geothermal spas), on to Lake Taupo (Huka Falls, rafting, bungy and skydiving and Wairaki for four nights in the end) in the central Northland; continuing down via Napier for two nights on the west coast as the Art Deco capital of the world (rebuilt in the 1930s following an earthquake that destroyed the original town) I called in to Hastings for a morning with nowhere to stay due to the Art Deco annual February festival! I then moved on as Wellington, too, was fully booked (literally) due to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo visiting for four days that week too! So after two nights in Palmerston North – where we were unexpectedly treated to the NZ Police Piping and drumming band practising in the Square on Friday for their tattoo competition – I had to find somewhere else on route and thats when I found this lovely town!!

My host, where I stayed in her caravan, Spottie Dottie, picked me up at the lunchtime bus, took me for a long walk on the black sandy beach by the wild Tasman sea, and then for coffe to see her friend at 2 Crazy Ladies cafe where the band arrived, and we watched later on that night!! So an unexpected night out too with Jane and David as well as Ngaire.

I stayed in Dottie Lotie which was lovely, all cosy and private with my own garden table and chairs, chickens all around too!

Otaki has it all – cute town of designer outlets, the wild long, long beach, two rivers running over the sand – one small and one larger, beautiful with black swans swimming on it, at the delta, all backed by dramatic river cut mountains rnning down the island centre!!!

Its quiet, friendly, wild with a bird sanctuary island just off the coast where kiwi, tue and other native birds flourish, unafraid of humans so the parrots actually land on your head I believe!

This is the sort of ‘find’ that makes travelling fun and interesting!

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