We stayed a few nights in Pahia at a great B&B called Tarlton’s Lodge (highly recommended) because we thought that Pahia was the place to be to explore the Northlands. We soon realized that Pahia itself is really not too exciting, what you have to do is either leave Pahia or take the ferry across the water to Russell.
Russell is great. It is everything that Pahia is not. It is quiet and charming and quaint. The ferry drops you off on the main street which is pretty much only for pedestrians with the beach on one side and a range of little stores and old houses on the other. We choose the Waterfront Café to have our drink and watch the sunset over the Bay of Islands. From here there was a cool steady breeze which swayed the big old trees lined up all along the beach but the sun kept us warm enough. We watched as the little ferries came and dropped off passengers visiting from Pahia and pick up some going back.
My hot chocolate did a good job of warming me up but was pretty sweet. This is a trend I have been seeing with all my hot chocolates in New Zealand. They are all very sweet but even more common are the two little marshmellows that always seem to accompany a hot chocolate. One is always pink and the other white, and I now refer to them as sugar bombs because they are by far the sweetest thing I have even eaten in my life. Virtually every café we stopped at in New Zealand gave me the same ones so I am guessing this is a national brand. Even Rich who is a big sweet tooth wouldn’t go near them! Even with the sugar bombs I enjoyed the hot chocolate and honestly a hot chocolate on the beach at sunset is really a fantastic way to end a good day.
After having our drink we walked up and down the main street until it was late enough to go for dinner. We ended up at The Gables right next door and had their daily special – squid ink pasta with seafood, a bit of a change from nights and nights of incredibly taste fish or lamb.
Verdict: A really great spot to stop and sip anything if you are over in Russell. Can’t get much more relaxing than this. The Waterfront Café, Russell, New Zealand. 7$