This journey reminds me of John Lennon’s song “The Long and Winding Road”.
Growing up I used to hate the trip from Napier to Wairoa which is a small town on the way to Mahia, but as an adult I can really appreciate the beautiful New Zealand scenery that accompanies this journey.
One thing that’s noticeably different from those early days is the number of logging trucks heading up to the port in Gisborne to be shipped overseas. Of course New Zealand’s wood products are the country’s third largest export earner apart from dairy and meat.
A stop in the pretty town of Wairoa en route provided the opportunity to sample the famous pies from Oslers bakery, renowned pie meisters! We enjoyed our lunch sitting by the river in the sunshine.
I hadn’t been to the Mahia Peninsula for many years and it’s truly a spectacular part of northern Hawkes Bay that’s a favourite holiday spot for many families and individuals. In fact I even noted a bach (NZ word for beach house) with a sign outside which said ‘Singles Bach’. Wasn’t sure if it was meant for singles accommodation or Singles was actually the name of the owners!!
Mahia translates to ‘murmur’ or ‘indistinct sound’. In its full form, Te Mahia mai Tawhiti means “the murmuring of home”. This rather romantic name refers to the immutable echo of the ocean, a sound that permeates the small settlement.
Mahia township has a permanent population of around 500 people, but this number increases significantly over summer. According to Google, ‘Mahia Beach has no Surf Life Saving Club but the beach is generally safe and relatively shallow – making it very child-friendly.’
There are some great walks, especially up to the Mokotahi Lookout, at the top of the beautiful Mokotahi Hill at the far end of the beach.
We weren’t lucky enough to see a rocket taking off from Rocket Lab Launch Complex 1 – the commercial spaceport located close to Ahuriri Point at the southern tip of Mahia Peninsula. It is owned and operated by private spaceflight company Rocket Lab and will support launches of the company’s Electron rocket for CubeSat nanosatellites. The facility officially opened on 26 September 2016.
However we enjoyed some beautiful warm weather and several swims in the sea which was warmer than expected, and a day trip up to the city of Gisborne, apparently the unofficial ‘Chardonnay Capital’ of New Zealand.