Making peace with Puhoi

Puhoi and I have a chequered past.  

It started out 25 years ago.  It was the mid 90’s and I’d left school at 17 and had my first job at a timber yard.  It was right at the time where we were starting to be aware of how women should be treated in the work place but we weren’t quite there.  And in a timber yard in Silverdale, we definitely weren’t there.  

Management were suitably worried about a 17 year old girl being around a whole bunch of saw milling men.  But instead of talking to the boys about how to act they told me to stay in my office any time the boys came up for a break – I couldn’t even leave to go to the toilet.  I once got told off for not wearing lipstick on reception and got paid less for modelling work I did for them because I asked when I’d be paid.

It was both the best and worst first job.  I stuck it out for a year and then enrolled myself in University, determined never to have such an awful job again.  Had I not have had such a bad start I probably wouldn’t have done that so in that way it was exactly what I needed.

Now you may wonder how this relates to Puhoi.  I’m getting there I promise… My boss at said timber company lived in Puhoi so by association I never much liked it.

That association ran so deep that it took me about 15 years before I felt brave enough to venture up there.  I took the kids up there with my ex-husband and it was an unmitigated disaster.  We stayed at a very spooky place where the hosts failed to turn up.  It was so spooky that we left in the middle of the night – driving at high speed past the freshly dug dirt and shovel by the side of the drive and hoping that’s not where our host ended up!

So we came to a rather non descriptive Sunday. I had my eldest daughter and my 5 year old nephew in the car for the sole purpose of playing the Getting Lost Game.

The Getting Lost Game is a game we created to get you out of going to the same old places. It has 26 misdirection cards (like turn left, head to the highest place you can see, go in the direction the wind is blowing) to get you out and exploring new places.

It’s really taken off! We’ve sold out 3 times now and it’s been featured on Radio New Zealand, Next Magazine and The NZ Herald. If you feel like you are missing out you can get your game here.

The Getting Lost Game

Right, sales pitch over…. And we’re almost at Puhoi I promise….

I was out playing the Getting Lost Game with my eldest daughter and my nephew. Our stop for a treat card had led us to Xtreme to play the spacies.

Xtreme Wairau Park

Back in the car and its fair to say that I wasn’t overjoyed when some lefts, rights and other random directions led us to Puhoi.

Puhoi

I was determined to give it a good second chance though and I’m pleased to say that Puhoi no longer strikes fear in my heart.  

I’ve probably not really sold Puhoi up to this point, but follow along and I’ll tell you all about the great things we did in Puhoi?

First stop – the Puhoi Cheese Factory.  For me this was akin to walking into a candy store with an abundance of amazing cheese all around me.   I would have happily stayed right here.

The kids however bypassed the cool playground out the front and a whole bunch of Puhoi chocolate milk and were keen to go to the Puhoi Pub instead. Which you know, really you can’t blame someone for just wanting a good pub lunch.

The Puhoi Pub is a pub where you know what you are getting from the moment you pull up.  The Tui and Jack Daniels marquees speak of many big parties.  The impressive line up of motorbikes and classic cars speak of the end of the Sunday drive. We can’t guarantee you’ll get the rainbow too but it made a pretty nice touch on our visit!

Puhoi Pub

Once inside the story gets richer.  The history is literally all over the walls with a scrapbook of the 140 years history tacked up over the walls.

Puhoi Pub

The food (wedges and nachos for our table) was superb pub tucker.  

The crowd was merrily buzzing – stopping only when a new car or bike pulled up when there would be a respectful lull in the conversation.  Inevitably it would be broken by a talk of how it would get a good drift on in the wet and the buzz continued.

There was loads of grass for the kids to play on and a range of interesting historic buildings to explore nearby if you felt the urge.

Puhoi

There’s also of course the kayaks nearby which I still desperately want to do (James and the kids did it last year while I was working and didn’t take one photo!)

All up – it’s a great little spot for a Sunday drive and an explore and I can happily say that the ghosts of Puhoi past have been laid to rest.

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