At Waihi Beach, Elisabeth Easther discovered that it is possible for the busy minded to unwind, if placed in the right hands.
I find it quite hard to relax, I can barely sit still unless I'm actually writing, because there's always something that needs to be done. So when Jeannette McCallum emailed, suggesting we send a writer on a healing weekend to Waihi Beach, I decided to accept her kind offer and investigate my chilled-out side. Would it even exist?
Arriving on Friday afternoon, me and the fella checked into The Tohora View B&B. As the name suggests, it boasts remarkable views and our hosts couldn't have been more accommodating. When the introductions were complete, I put down my bag and did what anyone who's trying to unwind would do - I trotted to the beach and ran up and down it, and it was bliss. The air, the waves, the sweeping stretch of golden sand, so my cup of tea. While I ran, the other half stayed on at Tohora View and reposed; he's much better at relaxing than me.
Having worked up our appetites in our respective fashions, we headed for the Flat White Cafe, right on the beachfront.
Our hostess Diana, originally from Brazil, explained how she'd visited two years ago, was "enchanted" by the beach and never left.
We got her drift. The scallops pan-fried with macadamia sea kelp and chilli sprinkle could also entice people to stay forever.
The next morning we met Jeanette, our yoga guru. My companion felt he could just as easily relax in the bed with ocean and island views, thank you very much. But no such luck Mr Snoozy, and at 8.30am we began our two-hour yoga session, designed just for us by Jeanette, yoga teacher, reflexology whiz and Ayurvedic practitioner.
She's one of those women who glows with good health and kindness, and we were under her spell at hello.
Jeannette opens her home, a former miner's cottage, to people keen to stretch and be soothed. Her snug, sweet-smelling studio with its bush setting and majestic pohutukawa combine to create idyllic surrounds. Sidney the cat looked on, not minding at all that we were "down like dogs", which, if you don't know, is a classic yoga pose. Jeannette teaches yoga to people of all levels and abilities and she has a gift - I genuinely thought I was floating at one point. Having arrived with empty stomachs, (essential for yoga) we were ready to be taken back to Jeannette's house for a sumptuous feast of the freshest fruit, muesli so delicious I had to ask for the recipe, home-made bread, perfect preserves, local honey and lashings of butter.
Then it was massage time. I've never really been a massage person, too much to do, but I think I could get used to it. The feet, head, neck and hands were given the full treatment, and I was transported.
Lunch, with more extraordinary food, ensured our bellies were good and full for the guided relaxation - turns out I'm good at that too, in fact I may have nodded off, which Jeannette assured me was a good thing. Then it was all over, the sun was setting, the time had flown, the sting of having to leave sweetened with slices of lemon cake.
Back at Tohora B&B, brimming with bliss (and food), hosts Shoneen and Gary, in hospitable Waihi Beach style, invited us back to theirs for a glass of wine, nibbles and a laugh. Dear Shoneen never stopped plying us with food and kindness, she even farewelled us at the end of our stay with a wee package of home-baked cookies for the road. She also lent us tennis rackets, because Waihi Beach has super new courts with sea views, for just $2 per half hour per player, no Auckland prices here. We regret not having found time to go fishing with Gary, or play golf, but weekends seem to shrink when you're in heaven.
We're glad we found time for dinner at The Porch though. Previous winners of the Monteiths Beer and Wild Food Challenge, their food is terrific, the seafood broth sublime.
So, unless you're on a strict diet, Waihi Beach is the perfect place to go to get away from it all. But don't take my word for it, go and visit Jeannette and find out if you're as good at relaxing as I turned out to be.
PS: On the way back to reality I was determined to walk around the perimeter of the Martha Mine in Waihi Town which I'd been told was a remarkable sight, and it is. If you can, go take a peek down that enormous hole, it's truly ore-inspiring (sorry) and has to be seen to be believed.
The Pit Rim Walkway has a few points to start from and we chose the entrance on the corner of Moresby and Savage St.
THE BEST OF WAIHI BEACH
Yoga and Reflexology at the Beach: 11 Pacific Rd, Waihi Beach. Ph (07) 863 4454.
Tohora View Bed and Breakfast: 31 Tohora View, Waihi Beach 3611. Ph (07) 863 1138.
The Porch Cafe: 23 Wilson Rd, Waihi Beach. Ph (07) 863 1330.
The Flat White Cafe: 21 Shaw Rd, Waihi Beach. Ph (07) 863 1346. Now doing weddings on the beach, if you're maritally inclined.
Elisabeth Easther was a guest of Yoga and Reflexology at the Beach.