Holidaying in Mangawhai is an interesting experience. If you go there, don’t hold any expectations like I did.
For an area with beautiful coastlines, it doesn’t really take advantage of it. Hard pressed to find any seafood to eat; at the local fish and chip shop I discovered (to my horror) that all the seafood was exported in. Huh!?
Mangawhai lacks identity. It doesn’t know if it wants to be known for it’s famous chocolatier Bennett’s, a golf resort or just as a small coastal holiday destination. The local gallery had hardly any work for sale from people within Mangawhai itself. It must be a popular place though, because I did notice the large number of houses under construction; and business that supported the building industry.
Did I enjoy holidaying here? Yes, I did.
Despite being unable to fulfill my desire for seafood, I played in the ocean and relaxed in my own private cottage. Aptly named the ‘Garden Cottage’ at Milestone Cottages, it was a cute cottage built out of wood, with stained glass windows, an arched ceiling and interesting nooks and crannies. I even discovered a trap door… which the paranoid city girl in me promptly blocked access to, since it didn’t have an internal lock.
I’m home now. I feel fresh, relaxed and far more peaceful than I was this time last week. Thank you Mangawhai.
The Garden Cottage is surrounded by a lush tropical garden. During the day all you can hear are the birds in the trees, bees humming through the hundreds of flowers and the sea gently shushing onto the beach nearby.
Just outside the cottage is this seating area. The chairs and table are made out of pieces of driftwood. In the mornings I’d make myself a cuppa tea and sit out here, enjoying the dawn chorus and watching the world wake.
The famous Mangawhai Heads. The water was cool, the sun was hot and the breeze gentle. Playing in that water was hellishly fun and later, sitting and eating fish and chips as I watched the sun set.
You can’t visit Mangawhai without stopping by at Bennett’s of Mangawhai. A boutique chocolatier that sells some of the best chocolate I’ve ever tasted. Even if you don’t like chocolate, it’s worth popping in just to see some of the amazing things they do with chocolate. The above Halloween display for example, features white chocolate ghosts, thick heavy chocolate pumpkins filled with chocolate pieces and wee chocolate mice, witch hats and bats. There are miniature sculptures featuring Buddha in a lotus flower and bamboo display, all made out of chocolate. My favourite (even though I’m not a rugby fan) was the massive rugby display, complete with chocolate rugby players and rugby balls.
Did I buy chocolate? Of course!
Lastly, I wanted to share the cross stitch I did during the quiet evenings. My dad loves fishing, and his favourite catch is Snapper. When I saw this design at a local needlework store a while ago, I knew I had to stitch it for him. Problem is, it’s a very hard design to find. Imagine my joy when I discovered a store at Mangawhai that had the kit. Of course, I had to stitch it… and voila, done.