Dining out on the covered deck of the Seaside Cafe Maketu the view of the coast from my small table stretches in a great curving arc of brown sand towards the peak of Mauao at Mount Maunganui, and further northwards to the Coromandel. Inland, there are views across green dairying country to Mount Edgecumbe, Tarawera, and the Kaimai Ranges.
Maketu is a small town named after an ancient kumara pit in Hawaiiki, where according to Maori tradition, seven canoes set off bound for New Zealand. And yes, you will find kumara on the menu of the Seaside Cafe that’s been one of the town’s biggest attractions for some years. The cafe draws day trippers, and evening diners from as far away as Rotorua, Tauranga only half an hour away and even Auckland, a three hour drive. In recent times, with new owners and menu changes, the cafe is pulling even more customers.
Maketu is also a pie-lovers destination, as the home town of the iconic Maketu Pies. The pie factory has a staff of more than 40, churning out tens of thousands of pies for sale all over the North Island. There are 22 different varieties, ranging from the ever popular cheese and mince to the more exotic mussel, lamb & mint, bacon & egg, and smoked fish.
There’s plenty to do in Maketu, besides eat. The town is located on Okurei Point with its own surf club, the sandy beaches provide good swimming, surfing, fishing, and shellfish gathering, and there are great rock pools to explore.
For families, only minutes away by car from Maketu are two of the biggest local attractions - the kiwifruit theme park of Kiwi 360, and natural health products company Comvita’s excellent visitor centre. Drive up Town Point Road to the hill above Maketu, to find popular Briar’s Seaside Rides, which offers horse treks across rolling green farmland with dazzling views out over the whole Bay of Plenty.
For history buffs, or the merely curious, visit the grassy bank near the channel where Maketu’s big estuary drains to the sea, to view historic monuments. The Centennial Memorial (1840-1940) – topped with a canoe-style wind vane - was erected to mark the legendary historic landing of the Arawa canoe, in 1340 A.D. after a voyage of 2000 miles from Hawaiiki.
Maketu may mean kumara pit, but I’d translate it as a basket of simple, affordable pleasures on the Bay of Plenty coast.
Article Brought to You By GrownUps.co.nz
GrownUps.co.nz is NZ's best lifestyle website dedicated to the 50+ community. This website is completely free to visit and browse over 4000 articles, meet like-minded people, play daily games, participate in lively discussion groups & live chat. Whilst you're there why not take advantage of the special offers available only to GrownUps members and a raft of great competitions.Join over 100,000 monthly visitors and 36,000 members throughout New Zealand. Visit GrownUps.co.nz - it's where GrownUps click!