I first discovered Whitemans Valley last Christmas when I brought my daughters bike through Trade Me from a lady that lived there. In order to reach the valley you have to climb up a very steep and somewhat dangerous road from Upper Hutt. Your passengers will tell you all about the amazing views which you can't look at because you are too busy gripping the steering wheel and trying to stay on the road around the scarily narrow and sudden bends.
Once you reach the top you turn a corner and find yourself dropping down into a beautiful green and enclosed valley. Its only a 10 minute drive from Upper Hutt but it has the feel of a small rural hamlet surrounded by agricultural lifestyle plots and woodland. Its the kind of place we want to live eventually. Somewhere we can have a small plot of land with a few Shetland ponies to keep the grass down, some chickens and a pig called George (yes I have already named him!).
This weekend we visited the Short Straw Cafe which is in Johnsons Road. I was not aware that this cafe even existed until I mentioned my fascination with Whitemans Valley to a friend of mine and she told me about this great family cafe.
The cafe itself is one of the first buildings built out of straw in New Zealand. Obviously not just straw. I think the girls were somewhat disappointed when we pulled up to a building that clearly didn't look like the straw house built by one of the three little pigs. However the thickness of the walls gives you a good indication that the building was indeed constructed out of stacked bales of hay. This must give it great insulation but is probably let down by the fact that like all buildings out here it doesn't have double glazing.
It is a great family cafe. The food is delicious and clearly home cooked. The garden out the back is perfect for kids with a slide, swings, big building blocks and plenty of space to run around in. We loved it so much that we have booked J's birthday party there.
J has been having soccer skills lessons at school and so is now convinced she has a future playing for the All Whites. So this weekend we purchased the Brunts first ever football and had a game in one of the parks in Upper Hutt.