Yesterday, we drove from Rotorua to Hawke’s Bay. I’m not sure if we mentioned this before, but we are basically driving through the whole country of New Zealand. We started in Auckland then drove to Rotorua and now we are in Hawke’s Bay. It is easier to understand when you look at a map of New Zealand. We are starting in the North Island and going all the way to Queenstown, which is part of the South Island. We get from 1 island to the next by taking the ferry.
So that is our overall plan.
Hawke’s Bay is another wine growing region of New Zealand. Here, we are staying in a vineyard cottage. It is literally a little house overlooking the Tuki vineyard. I love it here!! We drove up a little gravel pathway flanked by lime trees on one side and grape vines on the other. When we got to the cottage, we were greeted by the hens. Obviously, they are very comfortable with visitors because they ran right up to us. Actually, I think that they just wanted to be fed!
We got the key out of the lockbox and entered our “home” for 2 nights. It is so adorable. There is a small kitchen, living room, one bedroom and bathroom. The bathroom has a claw-foot tub, something that I am already planning for our next house. The refridgerator had some fresh eggs, butter, cream, and bread. The glass patio doors open up onto a wooden deck that overlooks the vineyard.
I like to think about what the dogs would do if they were here with us. They would probably be sitting in the living room with me observing nature from indoors. But I could picture Moose chasing the chickens and sitting on the back porch enjoying the cool weather.
The first day in Hawke’s Bay, we went to two vineyards: Church Road and Mission Hill. At Church Road we did a tour of the winery and vineyard. Mission Hill was just a tasting. We really enjoyed both of them. Quite often, New Zealand is associated with white wines, particularly Sauvingnon Blanc. However, we have seen many beautiful Cabernets, Merlots, and Syrahs.
Last night was a Sunday and most shops and restaurants are closed on Sundays (we learned this the hard way!). Because of this, we ended up at the grocery looking for something to cook. We came home with some filet, ribeye, potatoes, cheese, and chorizo. Yumm. We stuffed ourselves then went to bed.
The next morning, we had a lazy start. We cooked breakfast (fried eggs) and made coffee with the french press. It seems like most places use french press instead of a coffee pot. Justin is getting good at making it, and I am enjoying waking up to freshly made coffee! We may need to get one when we get home.
Today, we went to four vineyards: Te Mata, Black Barn, Craggy Ridge, and Silinea Estate. We enjoyed trying all the different wines and all of the tastings were free. We bought a few bottles to drink while we are traveling through New Zealand. I’m kinda getting nervous that we won’t be able to drink all the wine that we have bought. We can’t take it with us on the flight to Australia (in a couple of weeks). So, we need to slow down the buying and speed up the drinking!
We had some time to kill between the second and third tasting so we went to the Arataki Honey Visitor’s Centre. Apparently, they make alot of honey in New Zealand, including Manuka honey. Manuka honey is made from the flowers of two New Zealand plants. It is said to have alot of medicinal purposes. We also got to sample several different varieties of honey. They were all really good. Neither of us were huge fans of honey, but it seems like we are developing an appreciation for it.
For dinner, we ate at a restaurant called Delicioso. We had a giant antipasto/cheese/charcuterie platter. The waitress warned us that it was too big for 2. Obviously, she didn’t know who she was talking to! We ate all of it (except for the bread). It was the perfect end to the day!
When we got back to the cottage, we took some pictures in the vineyard using the tripod.
I’m going to be sad to leave this place, but it’s time to move on!
See you in Wellington!