(Friday 28th October, 2016)
A delightful day with friends. Then dinner with our tour group before starting the cycling tomorrow. Some really lovely moments.
We woke at 5.30am to so much birdsong! Incredible! Lovely tunes from all kinds of different birds…I was tempted to go straight out with my camera but it was pitch black so back to bed. This house that we stayed in! Beautiful and so interesting with travel momentos and clever architecture and different styles. We really loved it! A fabulous guest room for us with a Harry Potter cupboard (we didn’t have to sleep in it!), a day bed and great views over the extensive grounds with gorgeous gardens! Bliss!! After brekky I took my camera out into the garden and had a lovely wander around! A lovely blue sky, sunshine, warmth, a light breeze, stunning surrounds and birds I’ve never seen popping out of everywhere just made for perfection! Then the lady of the house took me on a bit of a guided tour and we had a lovely chat and the day just got better! Of course I always have an ear and an eye out for birds and I’m fascinated to see what birds they have here as compared to home. I already have found a thrush, a chaffinch, some different ducks and a tui that are native here and not found in Australia! Not a bad morning’s work I reckon. I’m very excited for the rest of the trip and the birds I’ll see. A trip into town was well worth it to see all of the 4 or more batches of ducklings just chilled out on the grass of the botanic gardens in Palmerston North at different stages of growth from just hatched to awkward molting teenagers. The aviary was interesting, the hothouse gorgeous, the esplanade walk really enjoyable and the river so pretty. A lovely jaunt.
Then a few groceries for lunch and hello what’s this? Instead of a whole bunch of self serve counters like Melbourne or Canberra, there’s someone to scan AND someone to pack the food! 2 per counter! “Home” for lunch, salmon cream cheese and asparagus rolls and a relaxed chat around the outdoor table; yum! Then goodbyes and on the road again back to Napier. Have I mentioned petrol prices? 176.9 for unleaded! Even talking into account the dollar difference that’s very expensive! We met our tour guide at the airport as we dropped off our rental car and she’s fantastic, already think she’s great. And meet LeRoy the spoodle who is very much part of the operation. Check in at the hotel, then off for a little explore on our bikes, 7km around the inlet before dinner just to get us going. A wonderful dinner at the hotel restaurant and meeting the other tour people then back to our room to go to bed. Oh yeah, our room: over the road from the beach so full ocean views through the huge windows and from the deck, queen bed, spa and just lovely all around! Luxury really: The Crown Hotel in Napier definitely gets our recommendation; also their restaurant Milk and Honey. And after a lovely 2 course meal, that’s just about us! See you tomorrow for the start of the bike tour proper.