At the moment, we’re living in Waikanae Beach. And it’s lovely.
Waikane (pronounced Why-kan-eye for those not familiar with NZ place names) Beach is a small costal township on the Kāpiti Coast, north of Wellington. The name is a Māori word meaning ‘waters’ (wai) of the grey mullet’ (kanae). To get to the capital, you can travel inland to Waikanae and catch the Kāpiti Line train or alternatively, you can jump on State Highway 1 (abbreviated to SH1 on the sat nav and amusingly pronounced as ‘shwon’ by the female Kiwi-sounding voice) and drive there in around 35 minutes.
We’re staying in what New Zealanders call a bach, to rhyme with ‘hatch’. A bach is traditionally a one storey, wooden beach house, usually used as a holiday home. Apparently the word comes from the term ‘bachelor pad’ and is mostly used by people on the North Island. People from the South Island prefer the term ‘crib’. While 20 years ago, all kiwi coastal houses would have been built in the same rustic fashion, nowadays the older style baches sit shoulder to shoulder with larger glamourous dwellings, some of which look like they could have come straight of a Miami photoshoot.
Ours is more of the traditional type. Plain but functional, it has everything we need with a dairy (local shop) 2 minutes walk away the beach just 10 minutes down the road.
The dairy is also next to the fantastic Olde Beach Bakery which is open every day (including Christmas Day, if you can believe that) and sells the most amazing pies, bread and pastries, as well as a pretty decent flat white.
For the most part, Waikanae Beach is fairly quite although the Long Beach Café and Tavern on Tutere Street is always buzzing, even on weekday evenings. The food is amazing and if you don’t fancy staying for a drink, they’ll sell you a flagon (a 2 litre bottle) of freshly pulled craft beer for you to take home.
Just down the road from Long Beach Café is the Four Square minimart which I guess would be the equivalent to our Londis supermarkets. Most smaller towns (like an English village equivalent) have a Four Square. If you can’t be bothered to drive into Waikanae to go to the bigger supermarkets, Four Square will have pretty much anything you need including fresh fruit and veggies, milk, bread, spices, canned tomatoes, toilet roll……………well, you get the picture. Four Square tends to be more expensive that the regular supermarkets but it’s certainly more convenient than schlepping all the way into town for a pint of milk.
Just across the road from Long Beach Café and Four Square supermarket is a public tennis court, volleyball court and playground.
There’s also basketball hoop at the end of the tennis court and plenty of picnic benches to sit on.
So that’s Waikanae Beach. Or at least my experience of Waikanae Beach so far. I’m sure there is still much more to see…………………….