Since we had stayed in the Ponsonby neighborhood on a previous trip, we already had restaurants in mind and decided to return to our favorite breakfast place, Cafe Jervois. I ordered the smashed avocado on toast with a side of salmon and Eric had the gluten-free waffles with bananas and bacon. Both dishes looked nice but only tasted average, a bit disappointing frankly. My eggs were underdone and the toast was too hard but the ginger latte was a highlight, very spicy.
We packed up the backpack for the day then headed to Hertz on foot to pick up the 24-hour car rental we had reserved the night before. No problems at all – plus the car was much nicer than what we had been used to so far with Apex Car Rentals.
We headed north to the Whangaparaoa area and Shakespear Regional Park (yes, it is spelled that way). Enroute we stopped at a New World Supermarket where we finally found more of the Tom & Luke cranberry and cashew snackaballs we fell in love with from Wellington. Twenty or so bags may have been purchased…
Once in the park we took the small trail to Gully Falls, which had a rather low waterflow this day. Further into the park we found a large picnic site where we had lunch with quite a few feathered friends, including some large peahens that scared some young park visitors by being overly friendly. There was no chasing any of of the birds away, as soon as I sat down with our bread and cheese, we were surrounded! One little bird even took small pieces of bread right from my hand.
Rejuvenated after our picnic, we headed west across the island to Makarau for Omeru and Waitangi Falls, located near another charming picnic area. The creekside trails were quite lush with foliage and many shades of green. We saw at least four separate falls here but most were unmarked and discovered by sticking close to the creek along worn footpaths.
Despite our GPS’ best efforts to get us lost, we stopped in for a quick beer at Hallerbrau on our way back to the city. Eric had the black currant berliner weisse and I had the Nitro porter. Both were tasty, Eric thought the porter was very floral. The menu looked pretty good (I was tempted by the oysters) but I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for dinner.
When I tried to make online reservations at The Cav Gastropub, their system said there was nothing available, so I emailed the restaurant directly and was happily told that 7pm was no problem. Lesson learned – don’t always trust automated systems! The rose wines (both from Marlborough) were a bit disappointing but Eric liked his ‘Roaring Meg’ Pinot Gris and the food was also very tasty. Eric had the venison and mushroom hot pot that came stew-like in a planter pot covered by a massive puff pastry cap and a side of mashed potatoes. I had the house-named pork sticky-buns that were sweet and tangy with a side salad of cucumber, mango and sprouts tossed with chilis and a sesame vinaigrette. Definitely need to make that at home!
After dinner, we stopped in again at Dida’s for a glass of wine each from Jules Taylor, a Pinot Gris and Sauvignon Blanc – both solid.