“We must stop at Yarrows”, Geoff advised us, “they have lots of yummy stuff”. With a recommendation like that, we certainly had to break our journey this morning at Manaia, en route to Hawera.
Manaia, home to Yarrows bread factory and shop
We were continuing along Surf Highway 45, driving through one tiny little place after another, with all of them having a long abandoned dairy factory which used to be the heart of each town. Manaia was much bigger, with Yarrows Bakery breathing life and prosperity into the town. We stopped at the shop to each get a little of the yummy stuff for ourselves. There was a steady stream of customers as locals and travellers just like us travelling on their way to somewhere else through bought their bread, pies, cakes and buns. Good customer relations are very important at Yarrows, as the shop had a list of “Happy Tips” for staff.
We found our camp for the night at Hawera, ate some of our afore-mentioned yummies for lunch, then went down town to scale the heights of the Hawera Water Tower. For only $2 each, payable at the Information Centre, the door at the base of the tower was un-locked, we went inside, then it was closed behind us. “Just turn this lock to get out again”, we were told, “and come and tell us when you have finished”. The water tower was completed in January 1914 to provide water for fire-fighters after several disastrous fires. However, an earthquake caused the newly constructed tower to list 2ft 6in towards the south. This was corrected by undermining then re-setting the foundations. Major restoration was completed in 2004, and it is many years since the tower has been used for it’s original purpose.
Hawera Water Tower, and the narrow steps inside
Round and round and round we went, up the circular concrete staircase, stopping occasionally to get our breath back. 215 steps later, we had finally reached the top. The wind was fierce as we stepped outside to the observation gallery for the 360 degree view of Hawera. We could see the town spread out below, with farmland and the huge Fontera factory further out. Mt Egmont was partly covered with clouds again. As they say in this part of the country, “If you can’t see the mountain, it’s raining. and if you can see it, it will soon be raining”.
Another 215 steps later we made it safely back down the winding circular staircase. We must admit that our legs certainly knew we had done all that stair climbing. Surely after all that exercise we had walked off some of the calories from the Yarrow yummies that we had eaten at lunchtime?