As the years cruise by, while enjoying our vagabond lifestyle, Paula and I find the trip has never become boring or tiresome. In fact we still enjoy searching for new and exciting discoveries plus re-visiting old favourites. They may be places, people, an activity or just a spectacular view or sunset. Life on the road provides our adventuresome spirits the chance to find daily fulfillment.
I was asked to share one of our favourite spots. I thought that would be easy but as I began the mental search it soon became apparent over the past five years running around this county full-time we had discovered a multitude of favourite spots. So I tried to remember one, off the beaten path, where perhaps not too many fellow travelers had taken the opportunity to investigate; a place where everyone could get to with no difficulty and enjoy the location. I began a list and after a hundred or so spots and a slow elimination, in an attempt to find a place both parties on a trip would find interesting, I settled on a place that was off the road but a few kilometres, not a hard drive but interesting enough to not be boring, provide a multitude of reasons to travel there and enjoy it as a pleasant destination.
I settled on a place just north of Whangarei. Drive past the town of Whakapara and turn right on the back road that actually ends in Russel. Fourteen kilometres along this easy driving scenic route you come to a spot we have labeled one of the tops in the country, for its style, the Helena Bay Hill Gallery and Cafe. Since Paula has been wholesaling her jewellery to galleries and museums for years we became very excited about finding what we consider one of the top three galleries in New Zealand. What a fabulous rustic custom built wooden building perched upon a hillside with views rivaling the best in the country. Peter Brown is the owner and builder of this fabulous layout. Not only is he an artistic builder but is a very good artist otherwise plus the pieces he displays in the gallery are some of the finest we have ever seen.
Next Paula and I stepped into the restaurant to be regaled with a fabulous lunch and a very well made coffee. That’s another area we always check out in our travels and this one more than made it to the top of our cafe list.
So of all the beautiful and wonderful places we have found in our travels I would like to nominate the Helena Bay Hill Gallery & Cafe as a place we highly recommend for a traveler to this area. A place to enjoy beautiful art work, a great meal and coffee and a vista you just won’t believe.
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