A Travellerspoint blog

Napier, 23rd November

sunny 25 °C
View OZ & NZ Nov 2012 on GinSmugglers's travel map.

We finally got our Skydive photos and videos onto a memory stick, using the facilities of the local Internet Espresso café, so here are a couple of examples (each) to whet your appetites...

Diane & Monkeh, skydiving above Lake Taupo!

Diane shakes hands with her video cameraman, whilst skydiving!

Keith, skydiving above Lake Taupo!

Keith, plummeting into Lake Taupo!

We started our tour of the Hawke’s Bay Winelands by visiting the charming town of Havelock North, and hence to the stunning high viewpoint of Te Mata Peak. The vistas of the bay, the vineyards and the coastal towns were simply stupendous.
Unfortunately, the drive up was a bit scary (Diane had to close her eyes, despite having been able to throw herself out of a plane just days earlier), and the summit was plagued by some sort of flying insects, possibly flying ants. They didn’t actually bite, but they were very irritating nonetheless.

Monkeh, enjoying the sun on Te Mata Peak

Then we started wine tasting, visiting the Black Barn Estate (excellent Sauvignon Blanc), the Te Mata Estate (another excellent Sauvignon Blanc) and the Red Barrel winery (a very nice Syrah, and also a tasty rosé made from Pinot Noir), all near Havelock North. Followed by the Elephant Hill Estate, which was a bit along the coast towards the wonderfully named Cape Kidnappers. We were a bit disappointed that there wasn’t actually an elephant -shaped hill, but they did have a delightful elephant statue.

Diane and the Elephant Hill Winery statue (vines in the background)

We really enjoyed the wines at Elephant Hill, particularly their estate Sauvignon Blanc and their rosé (from a blend of grapes). Our hosts David and Sallie at Whangamata (see earlier entries) had recommended this place for lunch, so we stopped to sample their food (and partly to soak up some of the alcohol). Well, we were very impressed – the food could easily have been Michelin star quality. We only had what they called entrées, but they were perfect for a light lunch.

Next we travelled all the way back to the foothills above Napier itself, to the beautiful Mission Estate. We enjoyed their wines, too, and so we were happy to follow David & Sallie’s other suggestion, to book ourselves into here for dinner. The restaurant has a very good write-up in all the guidebooks, and it has a fantastic view over Napier and the bay, so we are very much looking forward to our dinner later today.

Diane at the Mission Estate entrance

Keith & Diane in the Mission Estate garden

On the way back to the hotel, we drove to the viewpoint of Bluff Hill, which is a central hill and suburb of Napier, overlooking the docks and the Marine Parade, including our hotel. There was a cruise ship (the Dawn Princess) moored up in the docks, so the setup reminded us a lot of the Casino Park area of Funchal, Madeira!

The Dawn Princess in Napier docks

Posted by GinSmugglers 21:32 Archived in New Zealand

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