Art, wine, sea & sunMay 26, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 11 °C
Drove from Lake Taupo, east to Napier, south to Te Mata Peak and stopped at Waipukurau.
Finally woke to a blue sky above, but by the time we had breakfast, a chat with some other campers and a photo shoot with the girls new best friends, some ladies from China, it began raining again, at least only scattered showers.
In between showers we snapped some more photos of the river & lake then began our drive east over the mountains towards Napier. Can see where the pine plantations have been cleared and now support large scale sheep production even if the soil looks pretty poor.
A pretty easy 2 hour drive, arriving in the coastal town of Napier before lunch, giving us time to stroll around the CBD where many of the shops have retained the Art Deco designs that they were originally built in, after the big earthquake which destroyed the original town in the 1920s. The shops are new but the building facia and upper stories have been retained as original.
Took the vans up some very narrow windy streets til we got to The Bluff lookout were we enjoyed our lunch whilst overlooking Napier town to the south & the coastline to the north. Long way till the next land to the east, maybe Chile?
Deciding there was not much else on our Napier must do list, we headed south to a winery called Mission Estate, established & operated by some Marist monks for over 100 years. What a spectacular winery, situated to the west of town, up on the side of a steep hill, surrounded by vineyards & lush gardens & lawns and 180 degree views. There is the cellar door, function room, restaurant, chapel & retreat. The main building was relocated there in the 1930s and has been functioning ever since. Not many monks left so it is run as a commercial winery/function centre. Wine was pretty good too so we purchased a few before we got too relaxed.
Aiming for another lookout, we wound our way through extensive horticultural area with many apple, pear and kiwi fruit orchards, all looking in top condition. No abandoned orchards here.
Then the gps took us through numerous backroads and suburban streets till we reached the base of Te Mata, a treeless mountain to the south of Hastings. The road to the summit was a single lane road, maybe 5km long with numerous blind corners and almost no barriers between us and about 500m drop to the bottom. Michelle was driving their van, did a fine job untill we reached the top & was pretty stressed out by the view straight over the edge, straight down.
Was well worth it with spectacular views in all directions, over the ocean to the east and over the Hawkes Bay valley to the west. Wind was blowing strong & cold so after a brisk walk about we tackled the steep descent back into Hastings.
Still had some daylight left so we hit the highway south and drove a further 50km, arriving at Waipukurau just on dark. Checked into the only van park, thinking the worst but pleasantly surprised. Plenty of long term residents here, local workers who have fixed term or casual jobs. Met a few during dinner in the communal kitchen and had a few laughs at their antics. Turned cold & very windy.
1st day with continued sunshine after showers in the morning, was quite warm on the coast but cooled right off later on.
* making new camping friends at Lake Taupo,
* Art Deco buildings in Napier,
* great lookout at Napier and even better one at Te Mata, despite the drive up.
* checking out the outstanding Mission Estate Winery,
* surprisingly good van park at Waipukurau
* clocked up 1000km this eveningRead more