You know you are in the country when you have to delay your departure till the stock is moved. There was a herd of heifers which needed to be moved into the cattle yard for weighing and dosing. How was the young farmer going to move them without any dogs to help, we wondered. Easy – as we found out. He walked in front of the animals, calling softly to them, and they followed along at his heels like a bunch of playful pups, right into the yard.
A cow whisperer in action
With the heifers safely contained, we were soon on our way, heading south to Hawera. We always like to stop at the Fonterra Cheese Bar at Eltham, looking for a bargain or two. We came away with Parmesan, Harvati, and a little cheeky blue – that should keep us going for a while.
Our next stop was at White Heather Caravans at Normanby for some much needed “loo blue”, you can’t go too far without that necessity in the caravan locker. And just a little further along was Hawera, where we were staying for the next two nights.
Welcome to Hawera
There were no other campers when we pulled into the NZMCA site at Hawera. But a few others joined us later in the afternoon. Although we had travelled 85km from New Plymouth, Mt Egmont was still a feature of the landscape. There has been a lot of work done on the grounds since our last visit, with trees cut down, bark added to the gardens, and a new clothesline installed.
Camping at Muller Park, Hawera
The following morning we drove to Manaia, known as the Bread Capital. The biggest employer in Manaia is Yarrows Bakery so the locals have celebrated by claiming their town as the Bread Capital of New Zealand, and erecting a 3-D double loaf of bread as their welcome sign. The shop is always busy with customers, and must be a great place to work, as the ladies were all so happy and cheerful. We purchased a few goodies here, something for lunch, and some for home after we have finished our current trip.
Yarrows Bakery at Manaia
Not too far away at the tiny settlement of Ohawe we came across a sign for the historical Ohawe Military Cemetery. The cairn was erected in about 1907, and the plaque, positioned to face the setting sun, lists the names of 19 men buried in the cemetery and acknowledges seven others ‘now lost to memory’. Many of these men were killed in the battle of Otapawa, the most notable engagement of Major-General Trevor Chute’s West Coast campaign. A combined force of imperial, colonial and kupapa (pro-government Maori) attacked the strongly fortified Otapawa pa, which stood on the Tangahoe River about 8 km east of present-day Hawera, on 13 January 1866. We had to clamber over a stile, walk up the hill, then carefully climb over an electric fence to view the cemetery, lamenting that sadly, we are not as nimble as we used to be.
Ohawe Military Cemetary
There was a small motor camp down at the beach which we had heard about, so went to check that out, and met up with the very friendly manager, Phoebe. It seems a nice peaceful place to stay, and the charges are extremely reasonable, so we will have to add it to our list for a future visit. The coast is just a stone throw’s away, and although we saw a surfer having fun in the waves the beach is not one for family fun. Warning signs on the cliff edge tell of danger right along this coast.
The crumbling cliffs of Ohawe
It is always good to discover some little out of the way place like this that we didn’t know about – part of the fun of travelling and exploring. Back we went to Muller Park for lunch, and there’s Mt Egmont just behind our van – a wonderful sight indeed.
Mt Egmont from Muller Park