The Apron Cafe, Whangarei airport

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Whangarei Harbour from the air: from Onerahi airport on the peninsula at left, across Bream Head, Marsden Point and on to Bream Bay.

Rain means flight delays, and flight delays mean there is time for tea.

This cafe changed hands recently and I’m keen to see what the new people are doing.

My marks out of 10:

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I love the colour of the cup, but it’s not good to drink from.

Cup 4: Maxwell Williams Cafe Culture. The colour is fabulous, and the shape isn’t bad, but it’s heavy and the handle is too small to get your finger through.

Tea 6: Kerikeri Tea English breakfast. The serving person tells me it’s loose-leaf in a bag. I think she means it’s good tea, not floor-sweepings.

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It’s small, it’s friendly and it’s ours.

Setting 6: Our airport is friendly, cosy and subtropical. Not a bad place, as far as airports go, to spend a bit of quiet time.

Dog-friendly? Jess (and Cody before her) comes to the airport to see me off and welcome me home. She’s not allowed inside, but that’s okay, because the car park is so close to the runway that I can see her anyway.

The Apron Cafe, Whangarei airport, 59 Handforth St, Onerahi, Whangarei.

New Day Cafe, Parua Bay

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An irresistible mix of lemon, strawberry and mint.

The start of a campaign to lift the tea to the high standard of food and coffee at this otherwise-excellent local cafe.

Afternoon tea at New Day Cafe is irresistible. Not for the tea, but for the cake, which is, quite frankly, to die for.

And after two weeks of being confined to barracks with the ‘flu, I was more than ready for a sumptuous tea out.

It was election day in New Zealand when we decided to make this particular tea-and-cake run, so after performing our democratic duty at the local hall, we zipped the few minutes to the Parua Bay shopping centre.

Fondly, I think of New Day Cafe as die Konditerei (German for pâtisserie), mainly because I have loved the word since I first heard it in a high-school German class, but also because of the wonderful cakes make by Michelin chef Sabine, who owns New Day Cafe with husband Frank.

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Almost perfect.

 

My marks out of 10?

CUP 8: White fine-bone china with a gold rim. Good shape and feel. Pretty.

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It’s the little things.

TEA 6: English breakfast. Sadly, the tea doesn’t live up to the standard of the food or the coffee. It’s flat. I talk about this with Frank, and he says that at home in Germany they always had good loose-leaf tea. “But people here don’t seem to care about tea as much as they do about coffee,” he says. But there is hope; New Day stocks a range of Kerikeri Tea’s loose-leaf herbal teas, and Frank is thoughtful when I suggest adding one of the company’s black teas to the menu. The campaign continues.

SETTING 9: New Day Cafe is charming, despite being located in a block of suburban shops. It’s the little things that do it; checked tablecloths and flowers in an old teapot. Pots of fresh herbs. Wicker chairs with throws. And did I mention the food?

DOG-FRIENDLY? Yes.

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Charming despite its location.

New Day Cafe, 1387 Whangarei Heads Rd, Parua Bay, Northland