Mum in the drink
It was a shame to leave Green Olives Cottage as there's plenty to do in the area and it would have been nice to see out the bad weather and enjoy it in the sunshine. We were on a tight schedule and needed to drive to Napier on the East coast.
The drive itself was beautiful again (all the landscapes seem to be impressive in New Zealand). We followed the Manawatu gorge road and stopped for a cafe break at The Bridge where I enjoyed a date and lemonade scone in their beautiful cafe (I'm hoping to go back there and try more of their menu when we visit a friend in a couple of weeks time). Again, it was a bummer it was raining because they had a lovely garden.
More driving... but it wasn't long before we reached the wine region of Hawkes Bay and mum NEEDED a stop. Ash Ridge was the first of many wineries we'd be visiting and my parents needed holding back from buying a bottle of everything they had to offer... "We're on holiday!" was their reply. I think their pinot gris was our favourite.
We quickly checked into our holiday park and went to see what Napier had to offer. It's known for its Art Deco buildings that were re-built in that style following a devastating earthquake. The high streets' really nice because most of the shops sit below beautiful Art Deco architecture. We filled a couple of hours walking around and stopping by the beach for some more 'jump mid photo' poses before enjoying a curry at a nice restaurant (although mine was 'blow ya head off' hot).
Our evening consisted of playing card games. We taught my parents how to play S**t Head, which they ended up enjoying, but mum insisted that she couldn't call the loser a S**t Head so instead it became Muffin Head... I'm not sure which is worse?!
I, unfortunately, was designated driver for the day in Hawkes Bay wine region... Boo! It was too early for wine tasting... Yes, even dad agreed that 9am was too early for alcohol... so we drove up to a viewing spot at Te Mata peak. You can do a nice walk midway to the top, but as it was raining we took Graham all the way up instead and enjoyed a good brew and piece of cake in the car (mum loves it when it's raining outside but she's cosied in with a cuppa). I'm not sure the photographs do it justice, but even with the rain the views were stunning.
It still wasn't an acceptable time for wine tasting so instead we went to a honey producer. It was actually surprisingly interesting and we got to try a lot of honey at the end of the tour. We purchased some manuka honey and a honey baby soap for Evelyn's first birthday back in the UK... I hope she liked it?
OK...now it was wine tasting! First stop was Te Mata winery. All of the tastings we did in Hawkes Bay were free and consisted of between 3-7 wines... some very liberally poured. From this vineyard mum and dad treated me to a bottle of viognier (one of my favs... I'll look forward to enjoying it on a chilly night in the van, thank you).
Next stop was Brookfields Estate. We'd arrived at the perfect time. Dad was asked what his perfect wine would be and he replied "a full bodied red".....perfect! There was a bottle on the table with no label on it and we all tried it and absolutely loved it. The man then took us behind the back and explained that this malbec wine had only just been bottled and was awaiting labeling, we were only the 4th group of people to try it. Mum got a chance to pick her bottle from the store and put her own label on it... I'm not quite sure it's on straight mum!? We caught the eccentric owner pinching a glass of the malbec to have with his lunch... If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for us.
There came a break in the wine tasting and we needed some lunch... Oooops, it only happened to be at a cider producers orchard. Wine tasting turned into cider tasting. Dad and Jason shared a tasting set and we all enjoyed a meat & cheese platter for lunch.
After lunch the wine tasting continued and we visited a couple more wineries...
By the end of the day I was really looking forward to enjoying a glass of wine with my evening meal. We were hanging around waiting for a takeaway restaurant to open so that we could grab a quick meal to enjoy back at the holiday cabin. Mum, dad and Jason decided to get some fresh air and go for a quick walk on the beach while I waited in the car for the restaurant to open. I'm gutted I stayed in the van because I think I missed the funniest moment of the whole holiday!!! There was a tap on my van window and there was mum, stood motionless with a frown on her face, in soaking wet clothes and no shoes on..."what on earth had happened?!" Behind her, 20 metres down the street, was Jason and my dad in fits of giggles, uncontrollably laughing. Mum had fallen in the sea! She'd had to walk through Napier town centre with wet clothes on and a squelch in her feet. Even now (I'm writing this a few weeks after the event) Jason bursts out laughing at the thought of mum lolling about in the sea in all of her clothes. I think we all saw the funny side... although mum did break her camera. Too much wine mum?
The evening continued to be one of amusement everytime Jason or my dad looked at mum. We played muffin head, drank some wine and had an early night ready to make the Farmers Market in the morning. Even though I was the chauffeur I'd had another lovely day with everyone.