New Zealand : Kidnappers, Avocados and an Irish Bar.


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hawkes Bay
December 28th 2018
Published: December 28th 2018
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November 19 to 9 December

In my last three weeks in New Zealand I was able to spend more time with friends and not rush about quite so much ...so there were some leisurely walks in Long Bay and lunches at the new cafe at the Sugar Factory and in Cornwallis Park in the midst of a hailstorm...I’ve never seen hailstones quite so big ! Thanks to Jackie and Goff I was able to stay in their delightful cottage on shores of Lake Rotoiti... it’s like a tropical paradise there with massive tree ferns dipping over the deck so I enjoyed one beautifully sunny day and 2 days where the rain pelted down ...that’s why it’s like a tropical paradise there I think !!! But it was a time to enjoy some peace and read a few books and plan next stages of the travels.

While I have been travelling I have met some very interesting women through the organistation, 5W ( Women Welcome Women WorldWide) and it does what it says on the tin !! Some women have hosted me for a couple of days and some met me for a day and we’ve had lunch , coffee , they’ve shown me around . I am counting up now and I reckon I have met 20 women mostly great travellers and all with a story to share. On a sunny day in Tauranga I met Robyn who asked me if I’d like to go to visit an avocado orchard run by another 5W woman Hazel .... and me not having a clue how avocados are grown I jumped at the chance and off we went. Now having seen how these fruits are nurtured, picked all individually , packed and crated and then sent off to ships and stores I can see how they can be a bit pricey sometimes. These experiences you get when travelling and meeting locals are so enriching ... not the usual tourist trail ! And of course in the evening down at the harbour with local chippy with the fish straight off the boat ...the end of a perfect day.

Back in Hawkes Bay for a few more days with Jocelyne we visited some local craft shops and a sculpture garden and were treated to a guided visit by an artist at a Maori Art College . We had just popped in to see the wonderful weaving when this lady asked if we would like her to show us the artists and students work and explain the Symbolism of their art work. How wonderful for someone like her to give us her precious time and knowledge .

More local happenings when I played badminton with the local U3A group .... I am used to doubles but there were 6 of us on the court and so we rotated round to serve ...when I asked why am I serving from the same box all the time I was told because it was easier ..... the game went on and on with nobody scoring until the group playing table tennis were finished and they wanted a go on the badminton court !!! Strange but good fun ...I’ve heard of Aussie rules for a kind of rugby game .... was this Kiwi Rules for badminton I asked myself ?

The sun finally was shining so i grabbed the opportunity to go to Cape Kidnappers ... so called by Captain Cook who had an encounter with a local Maori tribe there ...Cook had with him a Tahitian Islander who was kidnapped by the Maori people and then when he made it back to the Endeavour Cook of course fired off a cannon , the local Maori were out of shot fortunately for them ...and so the place was named. This spectacular headland lies at the eastern tip of Hawkes Bay and to explore Cape Kidnappers it’s best to take the 4 hour tractor ride tour along the shore under the cliffs. As you ride along the guide will tell you about the history and geology of the area and point our relevant details .... we rode into the waves at times and you craned your neck to look up at the cliff rock faces and fault lines . And what’s more this place has a gannet colony ... we stopped to see flowerpot type Rocks with the birds nesting atop. And when the tractor stopped we had the opportunity to walk up some steep cliff paths to see the gannet colony on top of the headlands . It looked pretty steep to me but I set off and with the mantra “ if I don’t do it now I never will “ I made it to the top in about 30 mins . Unfortunately my phone battery died as I got to the top so not many gannet photos ... I loved the way they looked so graceful gliding in the sky and then coming in to land by their nests they crash land in a very ungainly fashion. Back down the path and the tractor ride back to base ...this was certainly one tour not to be missed if you are in Hawkes Bay.

Now I had to get back to Wellington and leave the rented car at the airport and fly to the South Island ... it was a lucky chance that I had a great Airbnb place for one night in Seatoun and the car rental depot and airport was 5 mins along the road. A nice little suburb of Wellington with a great clifftop walk where you can see WW1 and WWll outposts... they really did feel threatened here at those times. About 45 mins flight and I was back to Christchurch to stay with Diane and Dave. I have already described how I felt on my first visit back after the earthquake this time was a bit different .... Sun shining and a good walkabout to get my bearings and retrace my steps on the fateful day of the earthquake ...I could now see the regeneration not just the devastation and can see the future city developing. This day helped me to feel optimistic and to feel more positive. There will be a great new convention centre , the new library is open and the cathedral will be rebuilt , the gardens are still beautiful , new cafes ,restaurants and pop up food vans abound and the art gallery hosts some interesting exhibits.

Not to miss out on Christchurch nightlife we went out for the evening to The Bog an Irish bar , which has been in existence quite awhile but had to move locations because of the earthquake...great hearty food , an Irish band and a singalong and in the break some fantastic Irish dancing ...entertainment all for free. How to top that .... well a visit to the Casino of course. It’s not exactly Caesar's in Vegas but seems to be very popular with the locals ... we weren’t betting we were eating burgers n chips and as always to look on and people watch is a great entertainment.

Finally my time was up in New Zealand and after 6 weeks I boarded another plane for Queensland nd the Sunshine Coast.

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Salad or a work of art ?Salad or a work of art ?
Salad or a work of art ?

At the Sugar Factory , Auckland


29th December 2018

Always an Irish Bar!
Have you ever been to a town or city that didn't have an Irish bar? Sounds like great fun. I'm not big on Casinos but the rest sounds great. Thanks for sharing with us.

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