An added bonus of being back in Napier was that we could share Fathers Day with Dad, and treat Mum & Dad out to lunch at a very popular restaurant on the outskirts of Taradale- the Puketapu Hotel. Or as we've always called it, the Puketap' pub. The Puketapu Hotel is a member of the NZ Classic Pubs and a winner of the 2011 Hawkes Bay Hospo Awards which is one of the reasons it's so popular.
Puketapu was once a major crossroads and staging post, where stage and mail coaches, horse and bullock trains met up before branching off on their journeys to Taihape, Rissington, Puketitiri, Taupo, Wairoa and Gisborne.
Puketapu is also a very familiar area to us. When we were young, Mum and us kids spent nearly every weekend over summer at a swimming hole in the Tutaekuri River just up the road. As teenagers we'd also drive our friends out to the swimming hole for the day. Back then the pub was a typical rough and ready country pub. We only had eyes on the country store, it's where we'd fill up on supplies of iceblocks, chippies and fizzy drink- if we had enough pocket money.
Another reason the pub and restaurant are so popular is that Puketapu is at the top of one of the equally popular Hawkes Bay Cycle Trails, the Puketapu Loop, and is a good stopping point for lunch and/or refreshments. The trail starts in Napier (33kms return) but can be ridden from Taradale (18km return) up one side of the river and back down the other.
Every weekend there is a continuous stream of lycra clad cyclists passing through or stopping for a breather, along with family groups and on this Sunday, a group of enthusiastic Art Deco period costume cyclists who arrived in dribs and drabs depending on their pedal power and lung capacity.
Although the guy on the penny farthing arrived with the first group and quickly disappeared into the garden bar for refreshments!
I'd booked a table earlier in the week, which was just as well as both the restaurant and bar were fully booked. The Garden Bar was also very busy as they have a 'Sunday Session' with live music two weekends a month.
We had a very enjoyable afternoon and we'd all thoroughly recommend the restaurant. There was a special Fathers Day menu but many of the dishes appear on their regular menu also. We all had the King Prawn & Shrimp Cocktail topped with Rose Marie Sauce. It was so delicious I forgot to take a photo! The prawns were chargrilled and warm and placed on top of the shrimps which made for an interesting combination and something a little different from the usual cold prawn cocktail.
Mum and I had the Pork Belly, David had Marinated Lamb Rump and Dad had the Lemon Parmesan Crumbed Beef Schnitzel and everyone was pleased with their choice.
The Puketapu is also a meeting place for Sunday run bikers...
...and their passengers, although it looks like this guy lost his!
We had a wander past, admiring the line up of bikes...
...and checking out the Model A truck across the road before heading for home, fully replete and ready for a Nana nap!
And just a small note to mark a milestone- this is my 600th blog post. That's a bloody lot of typing and photo taking!