Gannet flying at the coast of Muriwai, New Zealand. Photo / 123rf
Muriwai is a serene coastal community, close enough to the city that you can still be downtown in 45 minutes, but far enough out that you start to get a small-town community feeling – one of our favourite things about living here. Surrounded by the Waitakere Ranges and well known for its black-sand beach and wild surf, this northwest suburb is a recreational paradise.
Depending on the time of the year, the gannet colony at Muriwai really is worth a visit. From about August to March, roughly 1200 nesting gannets become residents at Muriwai Beach. Just a short walk from the car park takes you to the viewing platform where you can watch the comings and goings of the colony and with the wild Tasman Sea as a backdrop, there’s nothing quite like it.
You really can’t go past a walk on Muriwai Beach either, It’s stunning, and there is so much of it to enjoy that you always feel like you’ve got the place to yourself, even if there are heaps of other walkers. My dog, Hector, loves it in the morning, just as the sun comes up.
We spend a lot of time at The Good From Scratch Cookery School which we opened in January on our lifestyle property. I’m a bit biased of course, but it’s a fantastic way to embrace the rural lifestyle. It’s superb on a rainy day, or any day for that matter, and after class, you can sit by the fire looking out at the moody valley and eating what you whipped up that day.
On the third Sunday of every month, we like to head to the Kumeu Market which is just a short trip up the road. It’s on a working farm and there is a fantastic atmosphere at the market, which has an eclectic mix of music, food stalls, and locally grown produce. We generally just have a walk around to see what other interesting things other makers in the area have been creating.
If we have a slower weekend ahead of us
The Food Vault in Huapai
is our go-to – it has great coffee – and if we’re on the run, and we need a quick bite to eat, the Beer Spot in Huapai always has a different food truck outside and it’s a great place to swing by on the way home from the city.
We’re very lucky to have a range of wonderful restaurants, breweries and wineries out west. If we want a nice meal out some of our favourites include Tandoori Bar and Eatery, The Tasting Shed in Kumeu has incredible sharing plates and with 28 beers on tap at Hallertau Brewery in Riverhead you really can’t go wrong.
Michael Van de Elzen runs the Good From Scratch cookery school in Muriwai. He’ll be at the Auckland Food Show which runs until today at ASB Showgrounds. foodshow.co.nz
For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, go to newzealand.com