We stopped at an old train carriage-turned-cafe, with adjacent station built in 1909.
Rich wood interior perfectly suited to a tea house.
Cheese and ham toastie for us with a flat white.
Curious: Oakura Beach is one of just three beaches along the west coast of New Zealand that faces north.
A welcoming house in Oakura
Little blue penguin, smallest in the world
An evergreen we see everywhere, with greenery that grows upward.
Evening falls, and Art tries out some new settings on the camera.
Someone checked in next door (what? I thought we had the whole place to ourselves), a friendly German couple, she a dentist, he a civil engineer taking six weeks family leave with their 14-month-old. They stopped in for a chat, tiny Maya scampering around my legs, telling me they'd spent seven weeks in NZ. Tomorrow I'd learn something else about them.
Ahu Ahu owner David (his wife is the one who brought us the snapper filets) mentioned he had an old caravan. Our ears pricked up, since we've been looking for one to rent or buy. The day we checked out we went up to their house, just a few minutes from the hotel grounds, to see it.
Extraordinarily hospitable, he made us coffee and we sat in the kitchen talking for 90 minutes. If you ever wonder why our daily map distances are so short, this is why. And worth every minute.
During that conversation, we learned the German couple had decided on the spur of the moment to be married at Ahu Ahu the very next day, in front of the beautifully crafted lodge just down the slope from where we stayed, a view to the Tasman Sea and their life together before them.