Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tolaga Bay and Matawai Hotels

Our other choice for a night at a historic hotel, would have been Tolaga Bay Inn, so we compromised with morning coffee there. It's a real surprise to find a Victorian looking hotel in such a remote part of New Zealand. The Gothic script inscription of "In what far country does tomorrow lie" over the massive fireplace, was most appealing.

Matawai Hotel is fascinating, in that it appears to be in the middle nowhere. It started life in Motu, which is even more remote, and one third of it was moved here in the 1930's. We planned to stop for lunch on the way home, but sadly found it closed at that time of day. Fortunately the dairy was open and the hotel outdoor seating was a great place to escape the hot sun and eat our ice-creams.
Visit date: 11 December 2013

Te Puia Hot Springs Hotel

The pre-Christmas pohutukawa flowering season is the perfect time for a trip around the East Cape. Beaches are empty, the sun is shining and the only traffic on the roads apart from us, was the steady stream of logging trucks. We spent the night half way round in the small town of Te Puia Hot Springs at the old-time hotel. The owner has a big task ahead bringing it back to life, but meantime, we enjoyed a comfortable room and hearty home cooked roast dinner. Visit date: 10 December 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Whangamomona Hotel, Whangamomona

The Forgotten World Highway is a stunning trip from Stratford to Taumaranui, with an excellent stopping place at Whangamomona. The hotel was built in 1911 and along with the small township, has a remote and other-world feel.
Visit date: 11 November 2013

The Grand Hotel, Wanganui

The Grand Hotel in Wanganui is a little newer (opened in 1927) than our previous hotels, but Art Deco is a style we couldn't resist.
Visit date: 9 November 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Princes Gate Hotel, Rotorua

This hotel is a real historic gem. Opened in 1897 in Waihi, it was moved to Rotorua after WWI, no mean feat in those days. After enjoying several walks around the city, we relaxed over an excellent lunch in the restaurant, which oozed the charm of bygone years. The hotel has been kept in a style which is true to it's age, and well worth a visit.
Visit date: 20 Oct 2013

Kentish Hotel, Waiuku

Before exploring the Awhitu Peninsula, we stopped for coffee at the Kentish Hotel in Waiuku. This hotel was built in 1851 and lays claim to the longest continuous liquor license in New Zealand.
Visit date: 27 Aug 2013

Foxgloves B&B, Waingaro

We had intended to stay at the historic Waingaro Hotel but it was closed for renovations so we found an historic house nearby instead.
The house has been beautifully restored with great attention to detail by the hosts who also provide a very reasonably priced and extremely generously sized home-cooked evening meal if required.
Visit date: 26 Aug 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Okoroire Hot Springs Hotel - Okoroire

We had seen the signs to this hotel earlier so detoured past on our way home from Raglan. What a wonderful setting! So quiet, so peaceful, just the occasional thwack from a club hitting a ball on the golf course across the road (and the odd passing car).
The food was good, just typical "pub meals". The chicken burger was a little disappointing in that it was a reconstituted pattie rather a piece of chicken.
The helping of potato wedges was very generous, we could happily have shared the bowl.
A walk to the bottom of the property took us to the natural hot pools that were the reason the hotel was built here in the 1880s. The train took travellers as far as Tirau (then called Oxford) and the coach route then conveyed them past the hotel on their way to Rotorua. Many stopped here to 'take the waters'. The pools empty straight into the Waihou River that has a spectacular waterfall/rapids/gorge that you can see from another path back to the hotel.
Visit date: 30 July 2013

Harbour View Hotel - Raglan

Heaps of character in this tastefully restored old pub.
The antipasto platter to share was almost a meal in itself. Our only complaint with it was that the bread was too toasted and thus was pretty useless with the dipping oils.
The chicken salad was beautifully presented. The lamb shank (not pictured) was simple and just as one would expect, with green beans that were cooked to perfection - just slightly al dente.
The Chocolate and Grand Marnier Tart was an indulgence that our waistlines said we should have avoided so we compromised and shared it.
The restaurant has been well restored although "Rimu" stained finger-jointed pine used for the external doors was quite out of period and the gas fire reasonably ineffective even though we were almost sitting in it.
Period detail upstairs.
The rooms are very basic with bathrooms along the corridor, but I guess that is true to the period - and is reflected in the price ($NZ80 per night) Visit date: 29 July 2013

Brian Boru - Thames

We decided to celebrate the anniversary of our return to NZ with a visit to Thames as the Thames is the defining feature of London where we had spent the previous decade. There are a number of historic hotels in Thames, along with a significant collection of other old buildings from the gold-mining era and after a pleasant morning exploring the streets we decided on the Brew Cafe in the Brian Boru Hotel for our lunch. The Roast Vegetable salad was very enjoyable. The decor reflected the name - brewing bits and bobs and the table markers were very funky. My only complaint was that they had every flavour of Kopparberg Cider, except Pear - my favourite. As this outing occurred well before any thoughts of blogging surfaced, there is not a lot that can be added from memory. Visit date: 16 July 2013

Nottingham Castle Hotel - Morrinsville

Having visited the real Nottingham and seen the Castle we felt duty-bound to call in here while in Morrinsville. After being away from NZ for eleven years and being used to English Pubs, we were a little taken aback at the contrast. This is a typical NZ boozer with pokies, races on the widescreen and zero ambience. The food was dodgy looking pies in a warmer - to be avoided at all costs. We sampled a couple of ciders in the "beer garden" (Ha!) and left. Visit date: 6 January 2013