Three vans headed south in convoy while Pamela and Don went north to enjoy the hot pools at Miranda. No hot pools for us, we have to start the homeward journey to arrive back for work commitments next week. We travelled along State Highway 3 crossing into the Taranaki region. The wonderfully dramatic rock outcrops of Mahoenui contrasted with the green of the native trees covering the hillsides. Coal miners worked these hills in years gone by, but the coal mines have long since been abandoned.
We reached the coast at Awakino and stopped at the the interesting little village of Mokau. Perhaps we will stop here for the night? The decision was made to carry on to the NZMCA motor camp at Onaero. We hit the road again and travelled over Mt Messenger, driving through a tiny one way tunnel hewn out of the rock. Let me tell you that it’s not easy to take a photo out of a moving car. First step is to get the camera ready, then perch the reading glasses on the end of your nose, so that you can see the image in the camera screen. But this also means that the view out of the car window is distorted – so you must concentrate on the camera. Extend your arms holding the camera right up to the front screen window, focus and press the button. If you are lucky, the image you are trying to capture has not yet flashed by at 100 kms per hour!
Before too long we pulled into Onaero Bay Holiday Park. After setting up the caravans and a quick lunch, Geoff and Eileen joined us in a trip back up the road. We wanted to check out an interesting looking small brewery we had driven past a few miles back. Geoff and Robin both appreciate a good drop of well brewed beer now and again, and Eileen and I just went along for the ride.
Mike’s Organic Brewery has been in operation since 1989, with the current owners taking over three years ago. The company produces a range of organic beers, and Geoff and Robin test tasted the beer varieties of Strawberry Blond, Pilsener, Lager and Dark Ale. The proprietor explained the how his boutique beers were made. There was quite a bit of hissing and gurgling going on in the vats as the processes took place. Robin decided on Lager to take back to camp, and Geoff chose Pilsener.
While all this tasting was taking place Eileen and I were sipping on plunger coffee outside in the garden bar. A large black rooster was crowing away, and a glossy black hen brought her three little chickens around in case we had any food for them. The babies looked delightful, with feathers just starting to come in through their fluff. Hops were growing over the adjacent fence. But then they would be, wouldn’t they? This is a brewery, after all!
Resident hen and her babies, and hops growing on the fence