G’day BoTCom readers, as we crawl out from under rocks in the dripping, grey forest. Or at least that’s how it feels...spring is out there somewhere! So if the winter blahs are getting at you, here’s another ripping getaway in Spotlight. The Lazy Tramper is a hideaway lodge near the top of the Kaimai Ranges. This is not your tramping of boil-a-billy on a gas stove, and put the tent up variety. This is what we call ‘how to go bush in style.’ You can book the whole lodge (sleeps 40) to yourself, but we reckon get some friends or relations together.
Your editor has been angling for one of Tauranga’s most iconic flights for some time...and finally got his wish. We take you up in the M.A.S.H Chopper, and declare there are few better ways to see Tauranga. The Bell 47 is also a pretty unique flying machine to ride in.
Wild Food Winner Does it Again!
West Coast whitebait, Bay of Plenty scampi, Canterbury rabbit... part of a local chef's recipe for success yet again, in the Monteiths Beer and Wild Food Challenge. The national winner last year, Stephen Barry of Mount Bistro, won the Tauranga region formal category. He'll go forward again to compete for the national title. The chef has had 10 wins in various categories over the past seven years. The Tauranga informal category was won by The Porch in Waihi - that served up Skippy in the Pouch - slow cooked kangaroo served with Monteith's Winter Ale. Pictured: Benny Coles from The Porch with his winning Tauranga informal dish
Shopping: Devonport Rd– the Home Wares Street
Noticed how Devonport Road has become home to so many nationwide chain stores – including a number of home ware shops? We mentioned earlier that Nest had opened, but others include Stevens, at 95 Devonport Road. One of their services is a Gift Registry, to help make the chore of gift selecting a bit easier. If you are getting married you can set up a Gift List with Stevens. Guests can shop from the stores or online. Breaking the home wares mould is Overland, a New Zealand shoe company with nearly 30 stores around the country. Almost across the road, is Dymocks book store that originated across the Tasman.
Attention All Vanners
Tauranga City Council is not exactly putting out the welcome mat for campervan and mobile home visitors... under a new proposal, they will be able to stay overnight at just five public areas in Tauranga, and not on the Mount waterfront. The campervans must be self-contained (equipped with toilets) and no more than three are permitted at any one site. The vanners are not allowed to stay more than two nights in a row. The sites where they will be permitted include Memorial Park, Marine Park at Sulphur Point, and Ferguson Park. Tauranga residents now get their say, with the proposals going out for comment.
It’s been a grim winter for surfers, but we hope all that’s about to change as spring has nearly sprung. BoTCom highly recommends you subscribe to Weekend Outlook at the inimitable www.surf2surf.com for a terrific ‘heads up,’ that includes swell alerts and surf forecasts for the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel. The Outlook also has marine weather, and links to surfing news stories, and an online surf shop.
WW is a new website, www.wonderwalkers.co.nz, described as a unique one-stop shop for everything to do with walking. Local sporting legend Susan Devoy is one of the women spearheading the colourful site that has walking information, news, competitions, etc. She says Wonder Walkers is not just about walking. ‘It's an opportunity for women to share whatever their hearts desire in a friendly and fun environment,’ says Dame Susan. The site is pitched at women whether they are avid walkers, energetic trampers or ‘someone who is still contemplating getting started...’
Tony Tears Up the Salt Flats
As we reached our deadline, Tauranga’s Tony Christiansen had made his first test runs, for his bid to become the world's fastest amputee. He's at the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, with his dragster shipped up from New Zealand. The wheel chair user says he had to pass some technical inspections. Tony Christiansen says their biggest concern was, that strapped in so tightly, he could not get out of the car in a nominated 30 seconds, but he got out in less than 9 seconds! Tony has already clocked 182 miles per hour.
A family pass to Baywave including four Hydroslide passes goes to Jess in Tauranga. Not to mention another family pass to the Welcome Bay Hot Pools & Campground, for Paul, also from Tauranga.
Alimento in First Ave, is a cafe that’s carved out a culinary spot for itself, that includes being hailed by Cuisine mag as one of the country’s top breakfast spots. We at BoTCom have been investigating their counter food. Eds personal favourite are the savoury muffins, light & sensationally flavoursome, and baked fresh daily - with all manner of different additives popping up - from olives to corn, tomato and chunks of pumpkin.
For a sweeter tooth, their date scones have a following, and they don’t just have pieces of date, but what Hamish Carter calls ‘date jam.’ We have a $30 Alimento voucher for someone to see what we’re on about.
We also have a $50 Shopping Voucher from Mount Mainstreet to spend at Downtown the Mount, the vibrant boutique shopping centre by the beach, and two Best of Tauranga guide books up for grabs, so hurry-scurry to subscribe to our newsletter and be in the draw for these fine prizes! (If you are already signed up for our newsletter, you don't have to subscribe again, as you're already in the draw)
Film, Art, Music...
Catch good films galore, at the 32nd Tauranga International Film Festival, Homegrown 08. It will run from 30 August to 10 September, at Rialto Tauranga in the Goddard Centre, 21 Devonport Rd. There’s a strong lineup of NZ short films. Tickets are $14 adults. For More info: www.nzff.co.nz .
Meanwhile, the Jasmax Film Festival runs from September 11th until the 17th, at Bay City Cinemas. This year’s festival includes award winning Canadian film, Radiant City.
The Bayleys Garden and Artfest is only weeks away… with a series of events that expand on the garden and art theme. The festival is on from November 10th to November 16th. There are 114 ‘Garden and Artstops’ from Katikati through to Te Puke – an incredible variety of private gardens with the work of local artists on show. The inaugural Tauranga National Art Awards, a national exhibition and auction will be hosted by the Farmer Motor Group Extreme Auto Village on Hewletts Road. The Wearable Art Flower Show at Bethlehem Town Centre will present the work of floral fabric artist, Jenny Gillies. It’s a show depicting native and exotic New Zealand flora. Tickets go on sale Monday September 1. Lots more info on the website: www.gardenandartfest.co.nz. Or contact Festival Director Allison Stewart, ph. 579 0668.
We hope his lemons are better than his spelling