Detour off the northern motorway on SH1, preferably on a Harley Davidson or at least with a noisy hole in your muffler, to the ultimate westie hangout: the Puhoi Pub & Bistro.
It’s been here since 1879 when true bohemian settlers from Prague (how exotic!) came down to make money as lumberjacks felling the massive kauri that surrounded this valley. You’ll find names like Wenzlick and Tolhopf roads, and guys with beards at the bar.
But what you won’t notice at first glance are the bras nailed behind the pub door.
Quite taken with the phenomena I just gave them a call to ask how many they reckon are there. “Oh it gets added to every week,” the burly guy on the phone replied. “We had a hen party here on Saturday and now there’s a few more.” He reckons between 80 and 90 – and I’m not sure if that includes these ones draped over the deer antlers.
Apparently the more modest de-bra-wearer will whip hers off in the loo, but the truly daring (read drunk) will take it off right there in the middle of the bar – amidst much cheering a free drink from the locals.
But aside from the titilation (see what I did there?) this is a fine, friendly pub to stop at for a pint and a toasted sandwich or plate of fish n chips. The walls are covered in old photos, posters, manly tools and tons of exotically foreign banknotes. Umbrellas stand over tables out the front, kids play on the lawn, parents puff on fags, and across the road are a couple of interesting craft and antique stores. Just down the road are some purveyors of fine produce like chutneys and jams, Devonshire cream tea specialists and Puhoi Valley Cheese.
Puhoi Pub & Bistro, Saleyards Road. Ph (09) 422 0812 – to book your hen night.
Open seven days from 11am to late.