Another easy start to the day. Relaxed breakfast, packing up, tidying up the Airbnb and making sure we left nothing behind. Once again we headed into the main part of the city, but fortunately we were able to get on a motorway allowing us to miss the worst of the morning traffic. However, we’ve noticed a significant increase in traffic on the north island, even in the more rural areas. And more aggressive drivers. Ah, well. After a short spell driving along the West Coast we headed inland, driving northeast, toward Napier, our goal on the East Coast.
We found a cute little cafe on the outskirts of a small town and popped in for coffee for me and hot chocolate for Dian. We enjoyed it out in a lovely enclosed garden, chatting with a few fellow patrons. We liked the look of their food so we ordered dinner takeaway, as they say here.
On the road again the landscape kept changing as it tends to do here. Mountains in the distance, hills nearby, pastures with sheep and cattle, forests, and rivers. The roads are in great shape, with lots of road work being done. Near a river gorge we found an old play area with a few picnic tables nestled into the trees. Looked like a perfect lunch stop to us. We set up in our usual fashion, using trash bags for our table cloth and enjoyed eating bug-free. But the children’s play equipment called to the child in both of us. Onto the swings we went for a fun bit of frolic then onto the seesaw. A bit more of a challenge. We crossed the bridge over the gorge, which like most rivers we’ve seen, was barely flowing. They’ve had a significant shortage of rain recently. Further on we came across a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. Inside we found a bounty of goodies and bought few for our eating pleasure. We were sorry we aren’t able to cook more here with the fresh abundance available.
After a bit more than four hours of driving we neared Napier. We were booked into an Airbnb in the outskirts of town listed as a “lifestyle property”. We had no idea what that meant but at some point during the day we saw a development labeled that way… It must mean larger properties in a rural area. In any case, on we went driving up a rather steep hill, when less than 2 miles from our destination darkness decended on Siri. Yikes! I never have any idea where to go without her and unbeknownst to me the battery ran out. Dian’s phone still had a charge be she didn’t have the address. Thank goodness my daughter had given me and external battery pack that I had just charged up last night. A quick plug in on the side of the road and we were good to go. Up and around we went with the road becoming significantly narrower. Somehow we missed the house number, having to work our way to a driveway where we actually could turn around. Once we came back in the opposite direction it was easy to spot the correct drive. We were met by Nikki, the host. She showed us to a very modern apartment in the lower section of their house which is built on a steep hillside, so we look out across the farm fields. She and her husband have 5 acres where the raise sheep, a blend of Wiltshire and Damara and chickens. She was heading out to bring the chickens in for the night and allowed us to tag along. All the animals were a bit shy around us strangers, but they followed Nikki like she was the Pied Piper. She told us about the different breeds and how this mix doesn’t need to be sheared, it just naturally sheds.
After our time with the animals we sat on the deck in the warm air, enjoying the twilight having dinner and drinks.