The month of October is always set aside for a day trip. This time our Hostesses were Jan Backhurst and Carmel Wilson, who surprised us with a Mystery trip.
Twenty members met at the assigned car park, to board the bus for an 8.30 start. We drove North up HW 16 and our first stop was at the Look out over the Kaipara Harbour, where we met a Spanish couple who were touring NZ. They were delighted to meet us and have a chat over their breakfast in the outdoors. The weather was very calm, the scenery, beautiful and it was promising to be a lovely sunny day. Back on the bus to Kaiwaka for morning tea at Bianca’s Café.
Our main surprise was to visit the Whangarei Quarry Gardens, situated in Russell Rd. 24 hectares of native and exotic plant species, which thrive in a variety of growing conditions. This garden has been created by local volunteers in the remnants of a former stone quarry. Well worth visiting and a gold coin donation goes to the garden fund for new plantings. Took us a good hour to see everything. Well worth the trip!
We then drove on down to the Whangarei waterfront to have lunch at THE QUAY Restaurant. As we had pre ordered our lunch, there was no waiting, the service was excellent and the food delicious. The owners of this restaurant also own another three in nearby towns and were telling us how they own a property in Maungakaramea where they grow all their own vegetables. They asked us if we would like to drop in on our way back and have a look at the setup that supplies four restaurants, so we did. Some of the vegetables were grown hydroponically and the rest in the ground. It was a very well run, business and growing vegetables was new to them, but now after a year of success they are wanting to grow even more.
We arrived back in Helensville at 6.30pm, what a great day. Thanks for the great organisation Jan and Carmel.