Day 6 Travel Notes
Today we got up and had a great breakfast before, reluctantly, leaving Huka Lodge. This was the first place where we wished we had been able to stay for another day. Our trip was arranged to cover a lot of New Zealand but that meant we were unable to stay long in one place. We justified this by promising to return and stay longer at the places we really loved.
Today our destination was Napier, a fairly short drive so we planned on stopping at anything along the road which seemed interesting. We had to drive over a range of mountains to get to Napier so the scenery was striking - like the lower parts of the Rockies but without snow and with different flora.
We stopped several times for pictures and then found a turn off for Wiapunga Falls. This was not on any of our maps so we didn't expect much. Instead we were treated to magnificent waterfall with multiple cascades. If we had been able to get closer it would have been a spectacular image - still from about 1/4 mile it was impressive.
Then we continued down to Napier where we has several vineyard/winery tours scheduled. We were quite early so went to the city center and had lunch at a little bar along the main shopping street. Then off to our first vineyard (Esk Valley Winery). We found out that, because it was Sunday, there was no tour but we had a nice wine tasting session with the guy on duty in the wine shop. Turns out he was getting ready to move to the Niagara Falls area of Canada to learn about ice wines. Since no one else was there we had a long conversation on wine, comparisons of the US, New Zealand and Canada and other attractions around Napier.
Next we were off to the Church Road Winery. We got there just in time for the tour - a small group (3 including us) got a very nice one-on-one tour of the whole place including their museum. After that, another nice wine tasting. They told us that the Church Road wines were not exported to the US but another line, Montana (called Brancott in the US to avoid confusion with the state) was. We will be looking for these soon.
Finally we went on to the McHardy House B&B where we would be staying Sunday night. It turns out we will be the only guests that evening so we had the whole place to ourselves. It is a wonderful old mansion built in 1896 and perched up on the hill in the center of Napier. The view of Napier bay was great! We felt a bit odd being the only guests that evening but still enjoyed the food and the scenery.