March 2 Hastings
Today was an R and R day. We started the day by heading off to Napier. Napier is about 15 or 20 km from Hastings. It is located on the east coast of the north island. An earthquake followed by a huge fire around 1930 destroyed most of the town. It also raised the level of the ground about 2 metres resulting in developable land rising out of the sea. The centre of modern day Napier was rebuilt in 1930 to 1934 in the Art Deco style that was popular at the time. They have turned that into a major tourist attraction. We took ourselves on a walking tour of the centre and saw and read about many of the buildings. We also found a little farmers market in the park. To add to the ambience, there were a lot of 1930's cars with people in period costumes around the place. We also went to a sheep/wool outlet where I bought some slippers and Chris got a hat.
After a couple of hours wandering around Napier, we went visiting wineries. Our first was Mission which had good affordable wine and a very nice restaurant on the lawn where we enjoyed lunch. After that we went to Black Barn which is a small winery with only about 25 acres of vineyard. They sell all of their ,wine out of the vineyard and a few local restaurants. The wine was OK and over priced Our next stop was Te Mata. The other Chris on our trip had it recommended to him. It was a bit of a disappointment as none of the wines really struck us as very good. Our final stop was at Craggy Range. It is an American owned winery with vineyards in the Hawkes Bay Area and in Marksborough area further south towards Wellington. They had some very nice wines.
Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc seem to be the best with the odd good Chardonnay. I find the reds, mainly Pinots, kind of wimpy with the odd good one.
From Craggy Range winery, we went to Te Mata Peak which is a height of land overlooking the valley. When we were by the winery, we could see a couple of hang gliders off the cliffs. The road up is very narrow and a little unnerving in a 14 passenger van but the views are quite spectacular.
Then we were back to Hastings for a quick change of clothes and back into Napier for dinner at the Emporium restaurant. We thought there might be a bit of night life on a Saturday night but it was quite dead.
That's it for our R and R day.