Day 13: Napier: November 10th
We left Gizz around 10 and hit the windy roads! Saare drove to Wairoa, we had a lovely caffeine jolt in the riverside town and off again. It reminded me of when I was learning to drive and dad would grasp the handle on the roof for dear life (is that the things only purpose???) - Saare did the same. Haha. We arrived in Hawkes bay to gorgeous sunshine - we passed a bunch of fruit stands, checked out the locations of some sea side B&Bs that Saare had been eyeing - and went to the beach - a gorgeous turquoise sea with gray sand. We had packed sannies and had a lovely picnic with beer we grabbed last night in Gizzy. Next we went to town. We parked and wandered the main strip - marine parade. Got some ice cream yum. We stopped for a delish bite of sardines on toast with wine/bubbly at Mister Ds (we now know that it is famous for its donuts that you inject with a syringe). Saare went to book us a hotel and I had 24 minutes to check out the adorable town centre. We had agreed to meet at the aquarium on the sea walk at 3:30. So ya my shop went overtime and I had to run part of the way and was 4 mins late oops. Saare found us an awesome place, as usual. Super comfy and good wifi and location. There is a hilarious jacuzzi right in the room (dumb and dumber heart tub style) that I had to try (quite lovely) but couldn't convince hubby to join in ;) We are right across from a really cool monument - it has a big archway and a rock - and when you align the 2 you are looking at where the sun first rises each day and significantly at the new millennium (remember that???). OH ALSO!! I have to mention - hotels/motels in NZ have heated towel racks and heated under layers in the beds that you turn on before you crawl in. Why does Canada not have this. It is amazing. I digress! We saw penguins and FINALLY!!! A kiwi :) 2 kiwis actually! So cool. It was super dark for them as it was feeding time. The zoo/kiwi keeper came to talk to us and he was nice but wow - loves the zoo and Richard Taylor (director) and alllll thing LOTR/Hobbit! Super nice but we kinda had to breakaway. He came to find us with a full day Wellington movie tour option and insisted he had Richard's number but he didn't. I think he just wanted to show us his space app that made noises when he flopped it open. After the aquarium we had applies and wine (finished our Waiheke wine) and watched the all blacks beat France. We took off down near the hill/point where a bunch of cool marine front restaurants were. We had to loser lap a bit to find one but settled on Shed before the sun set. We had great pizza and beers and were entertained by our hammered dude in the parking lot who parked his electric bicycle, crushed a 2L of cider or moonshine and made engine noises as if they came from his bike then gave his bike repeated thumbs up. All night. He finally rode/wobbled off still rumbling away. We got home and crashed.
Day 14: Napier/Clifton: November 11th
My version: I woke up so super excited for this day. Biking and wine tasting! Put on some jean shorts, flat kicks, and thankfully a lulu top. Thought about flip flops but thankfully didn't. I was in charge of today and the bike/wine adventure. Let's just say I should plan twice do once but more often I plan once and do twice. Saare calls it chaos. Anywho we rented nice cruisers at fish bikes on the strip. A gorgeous sunny day!!! Our hippy guy that rented the bikes agreed that the best wineries were out near Clifton Cape, 30km (I thought round trip) where I thought Kim Crawford was. He also predicted rain around 3;30. And I didn't really notice how out of scale the map was. Off we went down the gorgeous bikeway, it was stunning. A turquoise sea, black-gray sand, cliffs in the distance! but it was into a massive headwind. We rode through beaches, dog parks, towns, bridges, gates that you had to stop at to open and shimmy your bike through. And we rode. Starting to get pretty tired of wind. Saw a giant asparagus. Kept riding. Saare is getting very hangry and we are getting sunburnt and chafed. Kept riding and now disturbingly close to the cape that we saw on the horizon when we left haha. At this point I am just trying to stay calm and get SK to some food and booze and water. He was so annoyed but did such a good job of keeping it to himself as much as possible. 10 years of knowing each other helps! We arrived 25km and 2.5 hours later drenched and burnt at Clifton cafe for lunch. We were right below cape kidnappers, a world class private golf course. At this point, Saare is watching the weather to see if the guys prediction would come true, which would mean a switch in the wind. And it did, but not a full 180.... Tense times :) I convinced Saare to still stop at the 2 wineries that were open out there. The first was Clearview Winery and it was lovely!!! The oldest in NZ and such a good chill tasting. We chose anything off the extensive list and enjoyed a nice warm wine buzz to cut the trauma of the bike ride. We bought a reserve Charddy and a red porty dessert wine! Yum! In the backpack they went and off to our next stop, Elephant Island, owned by ze Germans. A gorgeous propert with a long driveway lined with Palm trees and vineyards and a patio on an infinity pool! We loved our tasting there too - and our girl! She had brothers in Wellington and gave us so many awesome recommendations for our next stop. We bought their reserve Syrah and a blend called Le Phant Viognier and Gewurt. I actually asked both places if they had any tractors going back to town that we could ride in. Not so lucky haha. So we set off. At a hell of a pace and without the headwind we were home in a hour!! We stopped once becuase SK promised on the way we could get a pick of the giant asparagus. The rest of the pics I took at speed haha. The worst part was the bumps near the cement factory. Ouch!!! I honestly had noodle legs but it was nice to get exercise. Would have been nice to avoid the bad short tan and the husband who is now plotting to kill me :) but really, the most stunning bike ride I've ever been on. it was the we stopped for a well earned beer at Emporium and back for showers!! We tried to go to mister Ds for dinner but it was closed so we went to Pacifica, another highly rated. It was touted as a New Zealand cuisine so we thought that would be great. We ate Swordfish, Abalone, Urchin, Sweetbreads (I think those are thyroid or something???) and goat!! And had a lovely Church Road Syrah that we thought we would go tasting at but obviously didn't get a chance to. What a lovely unique dinner! We also found out that Kim Crawford had sold the vineyard to Te Awanga Wines or something, which is why we couldn't find it! They are a virtual winery now! Weird and bummer!
Day 15: Napier/Wellington: November 12th REMEMBRANCE DAY
We put on our poppies, checked out and hit the road, with a detour to Te Mata peak - a really high hilltop area with gorgeous views of Hawkes Bay. Saare drove the first half through more crazy windy roads. One road was 7km through a wind turbine farm cut through mountains like a railway. Gorgeous! we stopped for lunch on Palmerston North, super nice little town. We made our way to Wellington to find the owner to get the keys. Saare worked magic to get us a deal on a penthouse apartment right downtown. Driving in downtown wellington was insanity - one ways and curves and everything a city can throw at a tourist driver!!! It was something else. I almost ran a red light but slammed in use breaks about a meter into the intersection (was laughed at by other car) Saare just looked terrified. But we made it to our place to the parkades where we had sort of instructions to park. So our park card wasn't working but we could still grab a ticket and get in - just couldn't get to the gated residential part we needed to (the rest is a hotel). We finally called the parking people and got through - we spent about 45 minutes in the parkade haha. Crazy. Our place is spectacular. It is very pimpin!! 3 bedrooms, big patio, huge windows overlooking the harbour, beautiful kitchen. It is just amazing!! We got our wits together and off to Cuba street to walk around then to Flying Burrito brothers for Mexican! delish!! We stopped at the grocery store and then came back to do laundry and planning. Welly is so so so amazing. It was love at first site here! The downtown is so cool with so many great restaurants, lounges, pubs, cafés, shops. And on the beautiful harbour no less! The hillside homes are the perfect touch. We are so happy we have 3 nights here! We had plans to go back out for beers but had no pants to go out in!