We arrived in Hawke's Bay on Friday evening and headed to Jarrod and Talia's house in Napier. We spent the evening chatting about what we'd all been doing since we last saw each other in London 4 years ago and comparing our respective lives on opposite sides of the world. The houses in New Zealand cost much less than the same house would do in England, although the mortgage interest rates are double what ours are. The houses are pretty big, mostly with a deck (or dick as they pronounce it) with the obligatory gas barbie on it which gets regular use, not like the once yearly event in the UK, when you excitedly trundle the rusty, cobweb-strewn kettle barbeque out of the shed for the one sunny, rain-free day of the year that can accomodate such charcoal-fests.
We went out to a local restaurant for some dinner and wine and left the campervan on their driveway whilst we slept in their spare room. You really appreciate a bed after dossing down in the back of a Toyota Hiace for a few weeks.
The next day we were shown the sights of Napier, which is a famous wine region so the day mostly consisted of visiting various vineyards before doing some wine-tasting at a particularly scenic winery, which involved lots of tasting and not much spitting out. We decided to have lunch here, and had a delicious platter of cheeses, breads, pickles and chutneys, washed down with plenty of Napier's finest.What better way to spend the day than stilton and chardonnay on a picnic blanket in the sunshine in the middle of a vineyard? Heaven, especially to an old wino like me.
In the evening we went to a barbie with Jarrod and Talia's buddies and stayed the night at their place again, before setting off bright and early for Wellington, where we were booked onto the ferry with the campervan to check out what the South Island had to offer...