Tag Archives: travel

Finding summer in Hawkes Bay

We made a visit to Hawkes Bay last weekend to visit my father in law before Xmas. Not only did we enjoy time with him and other family members we also found summer.

Spring here has been long, cloudy, cool, grey and windy. We know that Hawkes Bay experiences vastly different conditions thanks to a large mountain range that shelters it from the prevailing damp, howling winds and rain that come in off the Tasman Sea. It enjoys and thrives in the rain-shadow effect.
We rented a small, self contained cottage just outside the village we were visiting.
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It is on a life-style block where the owners are growing and farming organically and also operating this commercial kitchen. Check out a great initiative here.

Look at who lived here:
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Plymouth Rock Rooster

Plymouth Rock Rooster

Look at the bounty of goodness that is so abundant in this part of my homeland.

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Bounty awaiting in these Feijoa flowers.

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The birds were doing their bit to pollinate these beauties that speak of heat and flavour and the traditional colours of the approaching Christmas day.

Beauty in tall, fragrant rose bushes.

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You can see how dry it becomes here. Drought is common.

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We had hot weather, intense blue skies which faded out to a hazy, pale blue as we left for home in the glare and brightness of the sunshine. But while there we had sat outdoors in the shade in calm conditions, we had strolled in the evening warmth and soaked up Vitamin D admiring gardens.

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Catch up on the blog

The rhythms of the normal routines here have been altered in the past 10 days. We headed to Hawkes Bay to visit the oldest member of the family as he celebrated his 86th birthday earlier in August.

I wrote a list of things to take in the hope that I would not forget to pack vital items. The one thing I did not pack was the camera. I was very disappointed as I wanted to get some photos of the wide, expansive vistas of the Heretaunga Plains. The landscape there is so different to my usual views here at home.

Fortunately one of the family did take a camera and so I have a photo of the emus that lived next door to the lovely, peaceful, comfortable, boutique self-contained accommodation we rented here.

Did you know that Emus can make a deep booming noise? They don’t sleep for long periods of time so that accounts for me hearing them “boom” at 4.15am. Fortunately the booming was short-lived.

The accommodation is part of a small life-style block on the outskirts of Hastings and the owners have a menagerie of different birds and animals. Part of our rent included these fresh free-range bantam eggs.

We always buy honey from Arataki Honey House when we visit Havelock North. Look at this golden goodness. We take a 6kg bucket and get that refilled at the Honey house every 6 months. This small jar was a gift.

While at Arataki I picked up two brochures. One provides ideas for plants to have in the garden to attract honey bees. I intend to plant some marigolds when the rain eventually stops falling here, in the hope that more bees will visit.

The other brochure details all the new cycle tracks in the Hastings/Napier area. Locals are busy exploring and enjoying these tracks and which will appeal greatly to tourists visiting this special and beautiful part of the country.

Generations and constancy

I wonder if you have a familiar spot that you stop at whenever you are traveling to a certain destination.

We do. For almost 40 years we have traveled frequently to and from Hawkes Bay to visit family.

I am not sure how we learnt about the Deer Park in Dannevirke but it is the spot that we stop at regularly on the trip between Wellington and Hawkes Bay. It is correctly named the Dannevirke Holiday Park which incorporates wildlife areas, including the Deer Park.

Deer Park Dannevirke, New Zealand

Over the time we and other family members have stopped at this scenic spot to have a picnic lunch, a cup of tea and to stretch cramped legs, very little, if anything about this location has changed. And nothing needs to be changed.

There are the deer enclosures, lovely shady trees, shelter from the prevailing winds, a lake, a large bird aviary full of noisy and colourful birds to enjoy and flocks of hungry ducks and guinea fowl to feed…..or fend off the food you are eating!

The park is off the main highway, so offers a safe and restful place to refresh, stretch and take time away from long distance driving and travel.

On our holiday last week we stopped for lunch at the Deer Park on our trip up to Hawkes Bay and on the return journey. While we were there I thought about how my parents had stopped on similar journeys with their grandchildren and how those grandchildren are adults now and remember this spot fondly.

Gran and grandson at the Deer Park, January 1985

I also laughed about our status as grandparents now and although our grandson was not with us I could just picture him running after the ducks, feeding them bits of his lunch, wondering about and enjoying the birds in the aviary, exploring the bridge over the lake and watching and learning about deer, just as his Dad, Aunty and Uncle all did in earlier years.

So for me last week there was a sense of time and people passing, new roles undertaken contrasted with timelessness and constancy.

I’d be interested in knowing about your familiar spot that is a part of the broader weave of your family.

Monday catch up

So what has been going on in my ordinary world? The past two weeks have certainly offered some very extraordinary times as well as the ordinary and mundane.
 From the evening of Sunday 14th August until Tuesday 16th August we experienced 3 dramatic snowfalls. Snow fell in our garden overnight in 1995 but it is extreme weather that brings it this close to sea level. This event was at the high end of extreme and the snow lay in patches on the local hills a week later.
 Once the snow clouds had moved on, the rain clouds arrived on the back of freezing gale force winds and it rained almost incessantly for four days. We were very thankful for the heater that powered on through numerous power surges.

 In the midst of this our cat who has had indifferent health for over a year now needed to have a fleet of tests. The final ones required x-rays and ultrasound to be taken. The skilful vet was able to aspirate a fluid filled cyst on the side of the cat’s pancreas and we crossed our fingers that this would perk him up. This cat should be named “Trooper” because that is what he is. He has more than used up 9 lives and has pulled through many different ailments and injuries. It is a joy to see him looking so much better.
 For now the cat is looking chipper, feeling comfortable, eating well and reminding me constantly of how strong the life force can be. Here he is in healthier times enjoying the new carpet and a gentle breeze wafting up the hallway.

 We had booked a short holiday from 22nd August, returning 26th August. The weather shone upon us every day with intense blue skies, sunshine and warmth.
 We stayed for two nights in a cottage just out of Masterton and really enjoyed walking around Henley Lake and the next day visiting the stunning Pukaha, Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre.
 On Wednesday we traveled through the northern part of the Wairarapa and on to Hastings where we stayed in another cottage on a lifestyle block. This part of the trip saw us visit my elderly father-in-law and enjoy a meal out with him and other local family.
 We headed home on Friday, having to make a detour back to Pahiatua to get across the high hills to the western side of our island. The detour was caused by a massive slip in the Manawatu Gorge, shutting the road we would normally travel. The slip was a result of the snow and heavy rain that our island had experienced the previous week, coupled with very unstable rock and soil in that steep sided gorge.
 Unfortunately we have all returned home with a virus causing two of the three of us a reasonably high degree of misery. Our weekend was a very quiet one to help enable us to heal up.
 Evidence of spring was everywhere on our holiday. Most visible were the numbers of lambs in fields, daffodils in clusters and clumps and blossom on trees. The photo below is ornamental plum blossom in Havelock North, Hawkes Bay. By the time we returned spring was showing its face more strongly in our garden too.

Saturday Tip: Appreciate and more

Keeping a daily gratitude journal is a popular means of keeping our focus on the positive and pleasant things in our lives.

Other things you might like to include in your daily notes are things that you appreciate, things that make you laugh and things that bring you joy.

My list for the day so far includes being grateful for good food and clean water, hot water in the shower, a flushing toilet, my family and pets and the love they give to me.

I am feeling very joyful today because our neighbours are topping and cutting back their trees which means we will get lots more sunshine in our liviing area, as well as lots more sunshine and light in the garden.

I have family members on a long road trip today and I appreciate the benefits of text messages as they let us know where they are. It is great to know they are safe.

It is only noon here so I will have some more notes to make by the end of the day. Do you keep a daily gratitude/appreciation journal?