We set off for Napier on the 1st, but the best route involved a return to Taupo, which fortunately meant a coffeestop and stocking up with goodies at our favourite cafe, Bodyfuel. The drive to Napier was through forests and mountains and although windy, it was much warmer by the time we reached Napier. We came in through Bayview and had a look at a couple of sites but ended up atanother Top 10 site, the Kennedy Park ,in town. We took a cab to the newly developed West Quay and from the numerous eateries on offer, selected the Gintrap, which had a great fire and excellent bar food. Sunday morning was grey, not the Mediterranean weather we had been promised, but the colourful art deco buildings made up for the lack of sun, as did the wine tasting eventwe ended up atin town. We sampled 6 Hawkes Bay reds while watching films of the wine producers, a great way to spend Sunday morning!
Monday morning was definitely more like it, clear blue skies as we headed south via theMission Estate and Clearview wineries.The Mission estate had a beautiful main house which was originally a home for retired missionaries and a superb outside setting for coffee overlooking the grounds. Clearview was close to the beach near Clifton and was a great place for lunch, as recommended by T&C. A few bottles were purchased to keep the cellar stocked. We had time for a wander and snooze on the beach ,with gannets from Cape Kidnappers diving into the sea ,before we headed off to David & Helens near Ashhurst. Helen met us at the end of the Manawatu gorge to lead us to their lovely hillside home in the Pohangina valley.