Whitianga Scallops Festival

Last september we went to a small town on Coromandel peninsula and visited annual scallops festival. If you are lazy enough to read all the captions I added for photos, here is a short message for you right here. So! If you just moved in New Zealand and you have to save every $100 then you better skip this event and go instead to a local fish market where you can purchase one kilo of scallops for just 40 bucks. Visit the festival at some point later. Those of you who enjoys having parties with friends, visiting new places and trying new food and drinks without worrying about how much you spend I recommend to include this event into your calendar. Next time it’s gonna be on September 2017 or 2018.. It doesn’t matter what year it is now, reader!



Actually it was suggested to go to the festival by my friend Lena, who also purchased tickets on some coupon service 6 months before the event. No wonder, by the time it should start, I completely forgot we “are going somewhere on the weekend”. 🙂 Festival was about to start around 10AM Saturday, so we left Auckland around 8AM, picking up another couple of friends. Also, we got Lena’s dogs in a car, jumping from one seat to another, constantly licking your hands and.. farting. Absolutely charming little creatures! The first stop we made was in Themes, where we bought local cofee and then drove a little bit further until a lookout located half way to Whitianga, where we enjoyed colourful spring views before we dove into festival atmosphere.


Soon as we arrived to the town and found some parking lot we had entered the venue. There was a small Saturday market nearby, some street musicans were playing and also I noticed police car with a big text printed on frontshield: What Is My Plan B4 I Party? We got a stamp as we entered the entrance and also we were given festival’s wine glasses. Surpisingly and despite we have already paid $46 for entry tickets wine wasn’t included. Moreover, we have to buy food as well, LOL. I was looking forward to drink at least couple of wine glasses for free (my wife doesn’t drink any acohol at all) 😀

Behold grilled scallops for just $10. Not really cheap, but it was tasty. Therefore expensive that tasty.. I wish portions could be a little bit bigger thoug! I’d love to eat second one but we didn’t want to stay in a queue for a second time so we moved further.

Apparantly we didn’t have any particular plan what to see and what to try so we were browsing from one table to table, from one pavilion to the another one and tried almost everything we’d like to try. And I would say it was quite a busy event.

Scallop, baked in its own shell, one piece, $5. To be honest grilled scallops have better taste in my opinion:

Guys from Marisco Vineyards know how to have fun! By the way, you could try some wine before buying or topping up your wine glass for free. A glass of wine would cost you $7.

Besides scallops, you could buy and try heaps of another meals and dishes, starting from seafood and ending with more traitional hotdogs and burgers.

One of the kitchens. It seemed to me these scallops was brough to the festival from a local fish market or Pack’nSave 😛

Some kind of chopsuey. I do apologise but I don’t recall every meals names we saw or tried.

Highly recommend you to try this vine if you had a chance to. It is called Lake Chalice Cracklin Savie (Savignon Blanc) and it is made in Marlborough. Very and very good vine.

Sea urchins, we tried for free on the festival. You can eat only caviar which has a very nice and slightly salty taste.

Inside one of the pavilions there was some cooking show:

Scallops in shells, $10 per kilo, if I’m not mistaken

Also, we met a few group of people, wearing some costumes. People were chilling out, listening music and enjoying event.

At 3PM there was Coast Guard Fish Auction you could try win after buying a ticket.

Unfortunately we didn’t wait for the auction because my friend Boris came to us and said that it’s my turn to drive back to home. -Man, why didn’t you tell me that before I finished my glass of wine? Don’t be worried, he said, you should have enough time to become sober, otherwise I’ll pay your fines 😀

At such kind of moments, I start thinking that having an autopilot would have been very useful and handy! How many years we have to wait until every car will have it? Actually, I would not mind if my friend’s car could have at least cruise control.

And then we went for a walk!

We have visited a few local shopes on the way, walked down the road to the beach where we spent some time playing with the dogs and then, finally went back to the car:

On our back way to home we had climbed Mount Paku which is one of my favorites spots in this area

And then we made a stop in Miranda Hot pools:

Finally, we had a dinner in really nice and cozy German eatery at Kohimarama beach, just in 15 minutes walk from our house, which was a perfect ending for the long day we had: 🙂

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Ivan Grigoryev's Blog
Living in New Zealand. Blogging about the country, beautiful places, everyday life.
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