Sunday, 25 November 2012

Hawke's Bay

We've been in New Zealand for almost a year now, and in Wellington for pretty much all of that time. This week Elsje and I decided that we'd had enough of Wellington, so we decided to take a break and go for a drive.

Elsje searched online and checked out a place called Hawke's Bay. We liked the look of the area and she managed to find a beautiful little bed and breakfast called Tom's Cottage in a small town called Havelock North. So yesterday morning, early, we went for a drive and four hours later we arrived at Tom's Cottage, at the foot of Te Mata Peak.

The B&B is situated on the western ridge of the Tuki Tuki valley and is tucked away amongst the region's wine-lands. It actually reminded us a bit Franschhoek in the Western Cape. To be honest the area took us both by surprise; it was beautiful, warm and incredibly tranquil. It was as if the New Zealand we had anticipated seeing when we first arrived here a year ago were suddenly before us. It was also the first time that it has truly felt like summer, I mean in the proper, African sense, i.e. it was hot!

Since we only had one night, we just explored the town a bit, went to the coast and walked around the valley beside the river. We managed to find some boerewors in town and we cooked it and had it with some homemade bread our hosts had baked for us, overlooking the undulating foothills of the Te Mata range.

It was a short and simple trip, a little breather from the city and a chance to recharge a bit - something both of us have been neglecting this year.

The view from the deck of the B&B

Te Mata Peak

The view from Te Mata Peak, looking roughly north-east. On the right edge of the middle ground is the Tuki Tuki river and in the distance is a view of Hawkes Bay.

The rather unimaginatively named, Ocean Beach

This morning we went to Napier, the most touristy town in Hawke's Bay. It is known as the art deco capital, and it doesn't disappoint.

Note: NZ is nothing if not odd and this little town is no exception. It's called Dannevirke (meaning 'Danish creation') and is a small service town on the way to Hawke's Bay. The town was founded in the 1870s by people of Scandinavian extraction, a fact the residents seem to be especially proud of:

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