The key ingredients for a lovely day we spent a couple of weeks ago
October 19th, 2013
New Zealand is famous for its wine: the NZ sauvignon blancs made ordering a ‘savvy b’ the IN thing to do for a time back home (dahling), the pinot noirs are just divine and the chardonnay doesn’t taste like you have a mouth full of oak chippings, as it can sometimes do if you go Australian.
So don’t get me wrong, we’ve been doing our best to work our way through a fair old selection of vino since arriving. So much so, that I’ve just started a new blog: winewedrank – half in a bid to record our awesome tastings and half in a bid to shame us into drinking less.
But sometimes, on a hot day, after (or before) a walk in the woods, beer is the order of the day. It is cold, refreshing and can be happily glugged without such disasterous consequences as wine or numerous other beverages– trust me, I’ve tested this.
How convenient then that the Hallertau microbrewery and restaurant is to be discovered west of the city at the gateway of the Waitakere Ranges, with all the wonderful hikes and walks they offer.
Amazing too how this knowledge rapidly transmogrified our plans for a weekend walk with friends from an outdoorsy “there’s a nice hour and a half loop walk we could try” to “let’s meet at the brewery, have some lunch, try the beers and see if we feel like a walk afterwards.”
There was even, I suspect, some vague hope from certain quarters that we might be rained off and be forced to spend the rest of the day at a brewery.
It wouldn’t have been the end of the world, is all I’m saying. Not if the tasting paddle was anything to go by. It arrived in a rainbow row of kölsch, pale ale, red ale, dark beer and the special. Which I’ve forgotten. We’ll just have to go back.
But the red ale, Hallertau Copper Tart, was my top choice. Delish.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch of big-flavoured, hearty meals, from classic fish and chips to sticky barbecued ribs. The menu also offered a tempting selection of smaller plates, but if there was a risk of us having some exercise it seemed we were all going large.
And the risk materialised into a lovely walk to see the Mokoroa Falls.
It’s a short, gentle walk – if you’re thinking of doing it. And that was probably pretty lucky, given I had mostly eaten meat for lunch. But it can be extended either by taking the Mokoroa Stream Track (which apparently almost guarantees wet feet) or a loop taking in the Goldie Bush Walkway. You can find the details here if you’re keen to go yourself.
We heard the waterfall before we reached the lookout platform from where we looked down at the thundering splashes. But it didn’t end there. Some steps and a short scramble down the hillside brought us out a short walk (or more accurately a short WADE) from the bottom of the falls.
From initial caution about wet feet, it didn’t take long before I was feeling the cold water sloshing about my toes. And it didn’t matter a bit when faced with the rushing tower of water above my head. In summer, you can swim there – although the water stays cold apparently.
I found myself wondering whether you could get behind the curtain of water, like at Sgwd Yr Eira Falls at Ystradfellte back home in Wales…but checked my urge to find out when I remembered we were a half hour drive from home with no change of clothes.
So instead, we walked back along the gentle woodland track – a little more slowly and squelchily than before; beer in our bellies and water in our shoes.