Perched on a hillside overlooking the harbour estuary and mouth, the heads, Mt Taranaki and clusters of baches and Kiwi bungalows, Mokau Motel, built in 1973, is of concrete-block construction – solid and soundproof. Owned and operated by Murray and Laurel Reed, only its third owners in 35 years, it provides a comfortable and panoramic place to stay.
What’s more, staying here is a bit like visiting friends: there’s a scoop net to borrow for fishing, lettuce in the veggie patch for those wanting to gather some fresh leaves to pop into their picnic sammies, and if you’re short on bait, Murray often has some to spare; all you need do is ask. When you return with your catch, there’s a filleting table and hose at the ready.
Within easy walking distance is the river, estuary and ocean beach. Whitebait Inn, with its huge rolled ice creams and fresh fish, is conveniently located at the base of the hill below; and River Run Café, the local butcher (who also sells whitebait), and the Tainui Museum, with its old photographs of the region, are all but a five-minute stroll away. Further afield are Dollyview Gardens (a collection of porcelain and knitted dolls, plus a succulent display) and popular scenic attractions such as the Two Sisters, the Whitecliffs Walkway, and hikes to waterfalls, including the Matapeka, Te Rerepahupahu and Mt Damper Falls.