The Charm of Puhoi

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Ask what springs to mind when people think of Puhoi and you’ll find it’s the pub. It’s an icon for both the locals and visitors, who are fascinated by its pioneer feel and rustic mayhem. The pub is the hub; in summer it’s where everyone meets for a drink and a natter and in winter there’s a fiercely competitive weekly trivia night that involves both young and old. The garden bar is packed on sunny weekend afternoons with happy punters eyeing up the rows of motorbikes. It’s a great leveller: a table of hip young things from Ponsonby may be sitting next to one of hard-out westies; a bunch of pensioner tourists chat to gang members.

The village’s Bohemian history and strong community has drawn in a diverse population. Original settler families and generations of offspring live alongside Aucklanders who have left the rat-race for lifestyle blocks.

Puhoi is on the move, style-wise. The corner store has great coffee and a large selection of basic and high-end groceries, and diverse cafés up the road past the pub each have their own points of difference. There’s an eclectic selection of boutiques and of course, the markets on the last Sunday of the month.

All this is 30 minutes north of Auckland. Treat yourself to a weekend of rustic NZ charm.