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Love Leigh

Posted 27/4/2016

We just returned from a fun weekend in Leigh and Matakana.  Catching up with good friends is always a blessing and, when it’s a short stay of only two days, there’s nothing like a bit of local knowledge to be assured you’re seeing all the best parts of a destination. 

The drive up through the Northern Gateway was uneventful.  Last time I forgot to pay my tolls online within five days and was fined. That won’t happen again!

We stopped at Warkworth for supplies then headed to Leigh where we settled in for the evening.  Saturday morning started early with the men going fishing and the women heading to the markets early to avoid the crowds.  When we reached Matakana, parking was already a challenge.  But the walk was flat and we could stroll through the streets and see the changes since our last visit.

Matakana Farmers Market and The Original Matakana Market sit side by side.  The farmers market features purpose built stalls displaying a huge variety of local produce.  We bought avocadoes and some purple roses.  The flower stall smelled and looked beautiful.  The woman who sold us the reed avocadoes was so friendly.  Even though she was very busy, she took the time to smile and chat with her customers. 

The market next door at the Old Dairy Factory featured locally designed clothing and other artists work.  Everything here was relaxed.  Customers and stallholders appeared to know each other well.  The building is undergoing some renovations to enable more stall holders.  I purchased a unique card off artist Tanya McCabe.  Check out her website

Walking back to the car we were enticed by the delicate treats at La Patisserie.  There were several tables outside so we sat and enjoyed a cold drink and shared both a cheesecake and lemon tart.  The waitress kindly cut these in half for us before serving.  

Back in Leigh, we were taking a walk around the neighbourhood when we spied the Fish HQ Adventures boat returning from the fishing trip.  A successful mission!  Two buckets full of snapper, kahawai and trevally.  After the fish was filleted it was time to venture out for our version of a pub crawl.  The Leigh Sawmill Cafe was busy and we managed to grab the last spare table outside.  This place has always had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.  After some time we moved to the relatively new Leigh Bar and Eatery.  We were the only people there and sat at a perfect sunny table and watched the world go by.  Soon other customers started to drift in.  It was time to return home for a feed of sashimi (recipe on instagram) and a home cooked meal with family and friends. 

The next morning was an early start to return to the island. There was a bit of drizzle and traffic was quite busy on the motorway. We spied a large contingent of motorcycles who had stopped because a rider had come off.  Passing cars were rubber necking, then several vehicles behind us we heard a short squeal of tyres and a shower of glass.  We suspect a nose to tail.  Drive carefully people.  Life is precious!