Hawks Bay 39:77° S: 176:74° E

SV Jenny
Alan Franklin/Lynne Gane
Tue 17 May 2016 10:51
Dear Family and Friends,

13th May 2016

I have had a lovely day for my birthday today, the simple pleasures as they say are best. We hired cycles and biked around the coast, river and vineyards just south of Napier. The weather was sunny and a balmy 20+C, a bit breezy when cycling into a head wind, but otherwise just splendid. It’s hard to think of it being their winter season, it was like a lovely English summer’s day, but for the autumn colours and the crunching of leaves beneath our wheels.

 Hawks Bay, home of some luscious red and white whites wines, sits almost in its own micro climate,  gently rolling farmland surrounded by a semicircle of mountains, it is warmer than the west and central parts and we are now chasing the warmer weather as we slide further into autumn. Our cycle ride took in vineyards, their grapes already wine, in rich gold and crimsons, the banks of a gravel bed river and a cow jacking. Three of steers moved to block the cycle track along the old railway embankment, curious, they made a fuss about moving, staring us down! 

Of course you can’t leave the area without a wine tasting at one of the estates so we chose Clear view. An excellent lunch platter of smoked and marinated meat and fish, game salami, relishes and cheese washed down with a glass of Semillion with a hint of smokiness. Their reds are on the whole a lighter style to the other new world wines.  The next big wine fashion might be Sauvignon Gris, a varietal new to me, which was fresh and fruity. Who knows, but you read it here.Their Chardonnay's are award winning too with a delicate oaking unlike many of the more familiar Australian ones, but although very pleasant we preferred the wines of Martinborough.

By this time my pedaling was a little wobbly, must have been the extra wine in the basket! So we swapped the bikes for the van and headed for the beach to watch the sun go down.

A little round up of the previous week include retracing our steps to Rotorua where we finally managed to see a famous geyser, national schools of Maori carving and weaving, the equally famous bubbling mud, well known for its healing and cosmetic qualities. The Rotorua bath house charged their clients to be immersed up to their necks in it. Helpfully the bath house provided them with a list of ingredients that read like a chemistry shopping list for some awful experiment.

We followed up with a trip to see the blue and green lakes, white rhyollite and sandstone bottoms respectively responsible for those colours, and finally a bush walk to the shores of Lake Tarawera via the ruins of a village buried under the ash and mud from the 1886 volcanic eruption of Mt Tarawera. Although we didn’t get to the hot springs beach, a little further away down the edge of the large lake, we did mange a few quiet moments of reflection on the lake shore, its absolute stillness broken only by the seemingly loud buzzing of the insects and bees in the Manuka bushes.

We still have bags of time before our flights, a little frustrating if we are honest, there are projects to be doing at home, but we are still loving NZ and will move onto the Gisbourne peninsula soon.

All our best,

Lynne and Alan