Last night was the night from hell for a middle aged paddy.. to be stuck in a lovely hostel in a lovely town of Napier but in a room just over the local disco which played house music for the whole night.. well until 3am anyway! After heading back from my meal, I met Viv and Phil ( Australian Harry Burke lookalike.. my brother in law) and the other guy from the Rotorua hostel called Graham from Bath in the UK. We chatted for most of the night but should have chatted till the morning in order to get over the din from down below. Woke early for a leisurely breakfast with the Aussie couple and Phil proudly announces that Ireland had beaten the UK in cricket..” whoo hooo” says I not having an idea what I was so gleeful about. Cricket is about as understandable to me as quantum physics.. anyhow I cheered at the right time that the poms were beaten by the paddies at their own game.
I left Napier after replacing some of my baby blue dyed clothes and headed for a place called Havelock North which is the main town in the middle of the wine making district of Hawkes Bay. You could not help but notice the beautiful houses with the perfectly manicured lawns but why the huge warehouses of garages attached? My suspicious brain was thinking of the fact that they were probably only able to afford the huge mortages by double jobbing and bottling the vino under contract in their own gaffs. I referred to the bible namely the “ Lonely Planet “ which outlined in non too descriptive form that Havelock North was swarming full of yummy mummies with their permanent tans and their 4 wheel drives or BMWs.. I now know that the garage of that size also probably housed the turbo sundbeds!
I went to a winery called Craggy Range.... wonderful place in a fantastic location. Very modern classy place...but no official tour. Still though in the normal Kiwi attitude, I was allowed to wander through the place as I liked. I was invited to do the tasting as well but there was no point as I could not swallow! The down side of travelling on ones own!!
Went from there to the Te Mata Cheese Cafe where they make their own cheeses on site. Again I got a bucket of coffee and a pale chocolate cake slab for €3.50. The slab was the equivalent of several mens daily calorie allowance but I munched through anyway trying to deaden the gluttony by having yoghurt rather than cream on the side to counter act some of the calories... yeah as if!
It was in this cafe I got the first of unmannerly service I got in NZ. Let me preface it this way . In the cafe they make their own cheeses and call them topical names . The one on offer today was “ Mad Cow”. However the only mad cow there today was the waiter who was not impressed that I asked for milk in my coffee and had to toddle off to get some. He must have been in the middle of tonging his hair or some other pressing work, but I got the milk banged down with a grunt. That honestly was first bit of rudeness I have encountered in a fortnight but he was def having a bad hair day well fromt the style of it anyhow !
Left there and climbed Te Mata Peak. Wonderful views and was looking down from the height on the Craggy Range vineyard in balmy Autumn sunshine below. This was a second first in NZ for me as there was rubbish on the way to the peak.. an empty champagne bottle, an empty packed of fags and finally some tea lights. I won’t even hazard a guess what was being celebrated.
It was up on the height that the madness hit me.. I looked up the BBH (Back backers Hostel Guide) and saw there was a farmhouse hostel in the middle of no where. I cajoled Melissa into getting me there safely. After all it was in the A-hole of nowhere. I needed her help. It was 22km away from Waipukurau town and the cow Melissa sent me completely astray putting me 20 km out in the opposite direction. The phones had no signal in the place, in fact I don’t think that the bloody sat nav. was able to get any feed back from space either cause this place was so remote.. and of course when I got to the hostel it was closed... I should have phoned first! Bad idea alright going on a whim .....There was nothing for it but to try ringing the next available BBH hostel . I got through to a lovely lady called Pauline in the Glenross Lodge Hostel in Pongeroa. It took an hour and a half driving to get there. I can honestly say I have rarely seen such beautiful countryside... rolling farmland and a landscape that looked like the Pepperpot hills in Jamaica with differing depths valleys and height hills. Wonderful sunshine and when I eventually got there I had to let myself in to an empty hostel and the farmhouse about 0.5km away. I am the only one staying here and what a place. It has everything and really warm clean and comfy and all for €15/night. A car passes every 30 mins on the road and not a light to be seen for several miles. The only noises are from the penned sheep of while there is more of them in the shed than there is people in a 10 miles radius!!!!! Incredible sky as well as with the southern cross twinkling away..
I wont need to count sheep tonight to get to sleep... I just have to peer out at the beggars!
G’Night yawl. Wellington tomorrow to visit my distant relatives.