It’s time to catch up with my posts. After spending a long weekend in Golden Bay, three weeks remained of our stay here in Motueka. Sam and Alex, our host couple in the first accommodation here have been so helpful with suggestions of what to see and do. Motueka has a beautiful coastal walkway that we visited several times during our stay at their place.
Along the shore there is a rather interesting shipwreck that you can see from the walkway. The rusted frame also made for some lovely photographs situated so neatly behind the spring flowers. The location of the house was perfect for being able to wander through town as well as along the shore, plus Kaiteriteri beach is just a short drive away. Another popular spot along the coast is the short walk to the beach to see Split Apple rock, a well known landmark of the region.
You can guess and you’d be right, it’s a rock that resembles a split apple. Interesting to see plus it gives a great excuse to walk to another beach, as if we need one. I found the sand on the beach to be as interesting or more so than the rock itself. It was a mixture of light and dark sand with gold glittery flecks mixed in. The black and light sand commingled and settled into beautiful patterns.
During the week we enjoyed our walks and jogs in between boring stuff like laundry and baking and of course frequent sessions of hacky sack (our skills are definitely improving). Something this week awakened my creativity again for an inexplicable reason I remembered the white T-shirts the airlines had given us in the goody bag they handed us in lieu of our actual suitcases when we landed in Auckland. When we first got them I could not possibly think I’d ever find a use for an XL white T-shirt other than cleaning rags. Thanks to Google and Pinterest though, and all those in the world who freely share their creativity I found some brilliant ideas. After one Saturday morning and only kitchen shears and the T-shirts in hand I now have two scarves and a vest with leftover fabric in case I find more inspiration at a later date.
We quickly reached another weekend on the calendar, so off we went for more adventures and sightseeing. Spring is here and many of the local restaurants and attractions are beginning to open their doors in preparation for the busy tourist season. One such place, The Jester House opened just this weekend. This place was voted best café in NZ and was also suggested to us by our hosts.
Fully anticipating it to be busy we drove in, across the bridge with water flowing over the top of it (by design, not due to flooding) to turn around in the full parking lot before joining the other cars parked out front in the grass along the main road. The intriguing bridge was a perfect welcome to a fantastically quirky little joint. Wonderful garden art was scattered about the grounds which added to the playful atmosphere complimented by quirky artifacts found inside a cozy cafe. A cheerful energetic host greeted us and showed us to a sunny table on the porch. WOW! The backyard was filled with even more fun art and décor complete with a giant chess game and magical forest filled with hand carved wooden toys and characters. Everywhere you turned there was some interesting different sculpture, carving, another table for dining or some other bit of used furniture.
Along one path, opposite the stack of huge coffee cups an old couch sat with plants growing out of it all over, like the upholstery fabric had come to life. You could really get the sense that “anything goes” yet it all worked together to complete a lively, happy mood. The service was slow yet impressive for how busy the place was and we certainly didn’t mind waiting while soaking up the sun there was so much to keep us entertained. Then when the food did arrive, it was right in line with the theme of the place, fresh, fun and delicious. I enjoyed the best chai latte I’ve had in ages. We split a cheese soufflé and a lamb burger that came piled high with toppings and a large sprig of rosemary stuck in the top bun like a feather in a cap. Now all that was good, but the pinnacle of perfection was the cupcake with glitter on the frosting.
No jesting here, I can, with glee, say that I ate glitter for lunch and I loved every last sparkle. Paul wasn’t quite as excited about the glitter but it didn’t stop him from getting to the sweet chocolate treat underneath. The Jester House was clearly an obvious choice for café of the year. It was one of my favorite dining experiences ever, mostly because of the glitter but also because of the other fun stuff I mentioned.
Before we pulled ourselves away, we made our way down the short set of stairs to the edge of the stream to see the eels. They looked sort of menacing and aggressive as they stretched up out of the water with open mouths to grab the “eel food” from the café, a family was feeding them. Even the these creatures found a place to fit in here.
Next we proceeded on into the little town of Mapua, pulled off the side of the road before we got there to take a little walk up a gully to a lookout over the Tasman sea for another stunning vantage point for pictures.
After that was a stop at Mapua wharf which you could tell was a very popular spot in the summer. Fields next to the parking lot, marked for overflow parking and several restaurants within a short walk of the water told a story of busier times to come.
Sunday arrived and greeted us with sunshine once again. Today it was lunch at “Up the Garden Path” another wonderfully charming eatery with art lining the walls and delicious options for food and beverages. After enjoying our meals we intended to drive back to Mapua wharf, hire bikes and catch the ferry to Rabbit Island for a day exploring on two wheels.
We never made it that far. Our host Sam had mentioned the Tasman golf club and what great views it had. Paul turned to drive by and check it out and 23 holes of golf later we were heading back to Motueka. Check out the photo of the “business hours.”
If you had your own clubs there was just a slot for the green fee operated on the honor system. Pay and be on your way. Luckily there was someone there when we arrived who was able to rent us some clubs but told us to just leave them out back when were finished as he would likely be gone. We only saw two other groups playing on the course so it felt like we had the place to ourselves and essentially we did. The views were amazing especially from the holes along the cliffs overlooking the Tasman sea. The price was unbeatable too, a $20 green fee for as many holes as you want to play and $15 for club rental. The weather was favorable for golfing too aside from the breeze that came up occasionally throughout the day.
The best part for me, since I’m not necessarily a golfer, was that I didn’t feel like I had to hurry to stay in front of a group behind us so I could take my time and it didn’t matter if it took an unacceptable amount of shots for me to get on the green. We were able to stop and take a lunch break on hole 11 with no worries. We kept on playing losing balls and finding different ones, slowing down to take photos, gawking at the view, and climbing and descending the steep terrain. So on top of everything else, we got some good exercise. By the time we wore ourselves out, everyone was gone and the clubhouse was locked, so we did as directed and just parked the clubs out back of the building. So much for biking on Rabbit Island, but spontaneous golf was well worth it.
That night was our last staying with Sam and Alex in their house and though we were looking forward to having a place to ourselves again, we knew we would miss their company.