Paeroa: a small town famous for being the home of New Zealand’s favourite lemon-based soft drink, L&P or Lemon & Paeroa. Indeed, its main tourist attraction is a seven-metre high L&P bottle, which used to be closer to the road, but was moved further back due to the number of tourists endangering themselves by backing across State Highway 2 in an attempt to get a better photograph.
Why anyone would risk their life for a photo of a giant lemonade bottle is beyond me, but L&P is very nice as far as soft drinks go. If you’re ever in New Zealand and faced with a choice between L&P or some other brand of lemonade, definitely go for L&P.
But Paeroa isn’t just about L&P. It’s also known as the Antique Town of New Zealand. Up until last Saturday, I’d been through Paeroa countless times, but never actually explored it. Each time I stared longingly out of the window at what looked to be a collection of rather charming antique shops and told myself that, one day, I’d visit. I love old things, you see, and who could resist a shop front like this?
You might have noticed that the name of that particular antique shop is Granvilles. Now notice the name of another one of Paeroa’s antique shops:
Yes, Arkwrights. This shop claims to be ‘OPEN ALL HOURS’ despite opening at ten and closing at five. I wonder how many people get it. There are a few references to the classic BBC sitcom Open All Hours in Paeroa – see if you can spot them all!
Other shops on Paeroa’s antique and second-hand trail include Yesterday and Today, Pandora’s Closet and Junk and Disorderly, which is situated in an old picture theatre. Despite finding nothing particularly inspiring, I quite enjoyed poking around. My sister found a decent second-hand table for her flat, at least.
Paeroa has a couple of museums and quite a few cafes – including the big L&P Café that all the coaches stop at – and we noticed a lot of people coming through with their bikes on the Hauraki Rail Trail. There’s not an awful lot to do in the town itself, (unless you love antiquing,) but as paeroa.org.nz says, ‘Positive Paeroa’ is ‘The Little Town in the Middle of Everywhere’. It’s right next to Karangahake Gorge, for example, and Karangahake Gorge is wonderful.
You can read what I wrote about Karangahake Gorge here.