Iggy is a member of the New Zealand chapter of an Rotary group – the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians. New Zealand members and their partners gather at a different part of our country annually, usually joined by other Flying Rotarians from overseas. Whatever the official aims of the group, it seems to me that the purpose is for everyone to enjoy a new location, the pilots to share flying stories (with hands constantly on the go as they indicate an aircraft’s pitch and yaw on particularly memorable flights), and the partners to have a social time, with a bit of shopping thrown in.
This year Lance and Darcey hosted us in their home town of Tutukaka, located on spectacular coastline about half an hour’s drive out of Whangarei. Over the next few posts, I will feature some of the highlights of our weekend away – Whangarei Falls, views from the Whangarei lookout, the Quayside Town Basin, Opera in the Garden and a perfect day (well – half a perfect day, in my case, as for the second part of the perfect day I was fully preoccupied with sea sickness) on the boat Perfect Day which took us out snorkelling and kayaking off the Poor Knights Islands.
Travel is best when locals are the hosts. I have visited Tutukaka several times before, but it was Lance and Darcey’s local knowledge, detailed planning and flawless hosting (assisted by the drought-inducing constant sunshine) which made for the perfect weekend.
Let’s start with the accommodation, Oceans Resort Hotel.
First impression – luxury. We had a huge bedroom with a king-sized bed and tasteful prints on the walls. The lucky ones scored a room with a harbour view. We got the carpark view, but no complaints as we had a busy weekend planned for us, with little time to spend gazing out the window (and as we woke up each morning we could check the trusty old Corolla was still happy parked among the Mercs).
Two of the evening meals were in the hotel’s dining room – simply elegant. The table decorations consisted of a large glass vases holding a ball-shaped turquoise candle and swathed in turquoise gauzy fabric – colours of the Tutukaka sea. The next night, there were fresh hibiscus in the vases – tropical delight.
A downside of eating away from home is that all the good work on weight control can be challenged. However, Oceans Resort fare was beautifully presented, fresh and nutritious. Any damage done was purely the result of my own self-indulgence. Friday night’s schnapper was melt-in-the-mouth and the Saturday night buffet of beef (two dishes – one for those who like their beef rare and one for those who like it over-cooked – a nice touch there) served with an excellent choice of vegetables was appreciated.
On our way back to our rooms we noticed another convention room on the second level of the hotel. It would be the perfect place for a business meeting or a small wedding – simple, elegant, no bar, no TV screens and a balcony overlooking the marina. It would be hard to find a more peaceful or romantic setting.