Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hawkes Bay

The next morning it was back in the car and off to Hawkes Bay. Arriving in the area we noticed a lot of people being picked up by buses and carrying camp chairs. It was then we noticed the buses said Mission Concert and all the motels we were passing had no vacancy signs. Yep, it was the busiest weekend of the year in HB and Rod Stewart was performing at Mission that night, and of course we had not booked a tent-site.

But when we got out to Te Awanga campsite they had places and we pitched our tent to let it dry off in the gentle to moderate breeze. Te Awanga is on the beach and a short distance to the start of the Cape Kidnappers beach access walk.
We did get some nice days but we also got lots of rainy and cold evenings and most nights were tucked up in the tent before it even got dark.

We spent one day in the Ruahine ranges mountain biking.  We thought we were bike fit but sitting upright on our ‘shopping bikes’ in VTE is a very different position than the mountain bike.  The destination was Yeoman's hut which was built in 1884 with hand sawn tongue and groove timber. At the end of our three hour ride we were rather saddle-sore (although that really only became apparent the next day when we got back on the bikes – ouch).  The ride however was excellent through native bush and along logging trails and although we spent a fair amount of time walking up hills we also worked quite hard.

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We did quite a lot of cycling on river bank tracks and cycle trails into Napier.

Counterbalancing our frugal camp fees ($25 per night) and evenings meals of dehydrated food from Back Country foods (just boil water, wait 10 minutes and you have a tasty easy meal and no dishes), we ate well most lunch times. 

One day it was Clearwater winery, just down the road from the camping ground. 

A very nice main, but an average entree and some very pleasant vinos.

Another day it was a cafe in Napier.  For some reason ordering eggs benedict and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc made the waiter comment how much he liked that we were having breakfast for lunch and washing it down with a glass of wine.  Does no one do that in Napier? 

The highlight however, was the superb meal at Black Barn and their 2011 Pinot Gris was stunning. 
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So in spite of cool temperatures we had a relaxing time camping in the Hawkes Bay eating and drinking well.

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