A lateish start on another glorious New Zealand summers day. As an aside this has been one of the best summers (warm and sunny) for years.
We only make it a few kilometers to Waihi before lunch and so we are able to stop at our favorite cafe in Waihi, the "historic" Ti-Tree. This cafe has it all, indoor and outdoor, excellent food and coffee with the bonus of friendly service. Hard to ask for more really but I do wonder about the history that makes it historic.
Whakatane is deceptive. Coming into town there are a dozen - or more - motels but they are all well out of town. No problem if you have a car but if you're thinking of a stroll for dinner not so good. The Tuscan Villas however is an easy walk and seems to have everything that you'd want (including air conditioning) although a little higher price but we'll get that back by not needing a taxi to get home after dinner.
Valentines Day in Whakatane is a difficult day, not for hotels but certainly for good restaurants, they are all booked, apparently weeks in advance. This is clearly foreseeable but unforeseen by us.
Sadly the Wharf restaurant I liked so much last time has closed and in it's place is Matou, a Chinese restaurant with no reviews in tripadvisor.com. Looks like we'll be the first to report on it as, disturbingly, they have tables available tonight.
Matou is extremely good with good service and excellent food, pretty reasonably priced too. Chinese is perhaps not everyones dining choice but we were very favorably impressed. Well worth a visit.