A meal at the Whangamomona Hotel was a must, we decided. We booked a table and set off to soak up the ambience and history of this iconic building. The current hotel was built in 1911 and the walls are lined with a wonderful assortment of old photos and documents. Animal skins, antlers and timber saws decorate the bar. Back in 1988 the residents met here and made the decision to announce their independence and Whangamomona was declared a Republic!
Most of our group ordered the very large Whanga burgers, while Eileen and I decided to try the burger special of Pukeko, Pig and Punga. After all, where were we ever to get the chance to try pukeko again? The meals were very tasty, and we had excellent service. Our enthusiastic young waiter told us that he had grown up here, and had only recently returned to Whangamomona. He was finding it a little difficult living without his cell phone and internet connection! (No cell phone coverage in this rugged part of the country).
The proprietor was very friendly and was interested in where we had come from. Don’t you get lonely way out here? one of our table asked him. No way, not when he can serve up to 100 meals a day, he replied. He made us feel very welcome, answered all our questions about local history, and we will certainly recommend his establishment.
The motor camp manager had spruced himself up, saddled his horse, and trotted up the road to the pub. He was enjoying yet another beer as we went outside. “Want a ride on my horse?”, he asked the ladies. No we didn’t. “Would you like to buy a foal?”, was the next question. No thanks again. Seems that the horse knows the way home when the hotel closes.