Archive for April, 2016

Markets, pickling and foraging

April 29, 2016

The Farmers Markets in both Napier and Hastings beckoned and with lots of autumnal fare available, we enjoyed wandering around all the stalls and sampling the various treats on offer.

The Napier market is a smaller affair, set up in the street next to the memorial square.   But the best market is the Hastings Farmers Market which set in the lovely surrounds of the A&P Showgrounds, with lovely mature trees and grass underfoot, it really is very picturesque and a pleasant venue to wander around. 

Napier Market
Hastings Market

The first weekend we bought a load of fresh veggies and fruits as well as cheeses, breads and other goodies.  But it was the plentiful fresh vegetables I was particularly keen to  get my hands on as I wanted to make Giadiniera – pickled vegetables.  I haven’t made any for the past couple of years and we were missing having them on hand as they are great on an antipasto platter and make for a lovely addition to make a nice crisp salad in the winter.

First I had to sort and chop all the vegetables and put them in a brine mix for 24 hours.

selection of veggies – cauliflower, broccoli, yellow and green zucchini., capsicums of all colours – red, yellow, green & purple, baby red onions, green and yellow beans, celery 
Draining the veg.
Time to make  the pickling mix and cook, add the veg and then bottle.

That should keep us well supplied with our 5+ a day!

On our way to the Hasting Market, we drove across a tree lined road, not anything unusual in that but in this case the trees lining the roadside were walnut trees.

There is a man lurking under those trees somewhere.

With enough walnuts to last us some time, we continued on our way home, but with just one more stop.

Cider and beer tasting at the Filter Room. However, after we had sampled and made our choices of the cider varieties we liked, we went to the counter to make our purchase only to be told that they don’t sell the cider to take away, only the beer, ginger beer and Perry was available to purchase! Weird.

Hawkes Bay

April 28, 2016

Our journey to the Hawkes Bay started with a bang – a very loud bang in fact, that startled us both.  Damn, another blown rear tyre, one of a pair that were not changed after the last blowouts, read about what happened here.  We were just 10km from Havelock North so we carefully drove into the dump station on the edge of town before ringing the men at Carters Tyres.  Sure, they said, bring the van in now and we’ll sort you out. To cut a long story short, they replaced the blown tyre with the spare and ordered us two new tyres to match the other two new ones on the other side, the tyres would be arriving early the following  week.  Yes, we decided not to tempt fate by replacing both of the rear tyres on the passengers side to match the two new ones on the drivers side.  That sorted we headed off to the lovely parking site at Te Awanga.

Parked right on the beach, with Cape Kidnappers in the background.

We waited and waited for an offshore breeze so we could launch the kite but no luck there and as we are only allowed two nights here, we did not have a lot of opportunity. We watched lots of other surf casting off the beach, no one was having any luck but on our last night there, a neighbouring group launched a torpedo.  We watched them retrieve their line and they had one very good sized snapper, three small sharks and one stingray.  

Of course this is the Hawkes Bay, and I was really looking forward to going to the Farmers Market on Sunday morning as its one of the best markets around.  We also checked out the smaller Napier market on Saturday morning.   

We were up and off early on Sunday morning to wander the stalls before coming back to the van to move to our next destination.  Needless to say that two very large bags of goodies came back with us from our foray, but more on what I did with all those veg in a later blog.

We were soon packed up and leading the way to our next destination.  Roy and I had done a bit of a recce of other possible parking places as with two of us with large rigs, we need to make sure that there is ample room for us both.   Just as well we had as one of the potential sites was not suitable on size but also not suitable on location, as it was below sea level behind large stony banks.  It was off to the Evers- Swindell Reserve in Clive for us, with a juice outlook over the river with the cycle/walkways right beside us.  

We had just arrived and were setting up when this sight unfolded in front of us A waka (Maori canoe), with a group of tourists learning the techniques and protocols

It looked like a great way to spend an afternoon. 

 We were at Clive for a couple of nights before we went to the NZMCA park in Napier.  Unfortunately I neglected to get the camera out to take a picture of us parked up here, we were there for a week catching up with many tasks, including getting the new tyres fitted, going out to celebrate Roy’s Birthday at Bistronomy, checking out a few wineries and of course going back to the Farmers Market.

Anzac Day was on Monday, Roy attended dawn service at the soundshell on the Napier foreshore, he will elucidate later when he gets round to catching up with his view of the world.  

Al in all a lovely time spent in and around the Hawkes Bay, we were reluctant to leave but we are on a bit of a schedule as Brian & Marj have to be back in Auckland by mid May and there is the East Cape to explore.   Little did we know that our plans were to change again…..but more on that later.

Kairakau & Mangakuri Beaches

April 22, 2016


Our next port of call was Kairakau, a short distance as the crow flies, but a much longer trip zig zagging inland first to near Waipawa before then heading back out to the coast. 


Looking south


Looking north

Once we were parked and settled in, again no phone reception, as is evidenced by the very large range of bluffs behind the camping area cutting out communications which were at best sporadic all of the way up the coast.


These bluffs meant that the sun was only on us until mid afternoon.  It would not be a place to be camped during the winter months. The colour is provided by the early morning light.


The other end of the beach was a river mouth with a number of holiday homes and a small permanent population.


Looking back from the river mouth to where we were camping looking over the camp ground in the foreground, we are faintly visible in the background.


Mixed farming!  Geese and sheep sharing the same paddocks.


Just before the beach there is this chasm cut between the coastal bluffs and a large singular rock formation.

From Kairakau we took a short drive to Mangakuri without camera.  It was a very long sandy beach (which beaches aren’t around here!) with a very small settlement.  However it has no motorhome parking available.  We both felt it would be a very attractive place to come back to and spend some time.

Pourerere & Aramoana

April 22, 2016


Next stop was Pourerere, a stunning long beach with motorhome parking all along the beach front for fully Self Contained vehicles only, with a maximum stay of three nights. Again a permit is required but this is easily and quickly done with a phone call, but make sure you phone well before coming to this beach as there is definitely no cell phone reception here, and even radio reception was negligible.

On the road into Pourerere, we were surprised to see on the skyline, a line of ….giraffes?  Surely not. 

giraffeGiraffes on the skyline

But they were indeed a line of giraffes, made of metal we think but obviously a farmer with a sense of humour.

We arrived at the beach to be met with a long sandy beach with motorhome parking available all along the beach front.  It didn’t take us too long to pick a suitable place to park.  At this time of the year there was no one else around so we had plenty of places to choose from.   


Parked on the beach looking southward


The view from the bedroom window looking north.


At low tide



Sign at the entrance to the beach area


This fellow was one of the biggest seen around these parts.  According to the owner he was impatiently waiting for the last of the calving.


Saw this old church from the road in and decided to have a look at it

Found a path which led to the church and followed it up through a grove of trees only to find that it was no longer a church, it has been converted into a home.26


Found this unusual fruit on a tree at one end of the beach.


Cracked it open to find a chestnut inside!!!


Just a short drive south of Pourerere is the small settlement of Aramoana, not to be confused with the Aramoana near Dunedin.  I say a short drive, it is 8kms by road, but only 4.5kms if you go along the beaches at low tide. 

Aramoana aka Stony Bay, is now being developed with upmarket holiday homes so we were a little surprised not to find cell phone reception here.  But eventually we did, after seeing a local repeater station located on private property, if we climbed a small hill and stood in the right place we could gain some phone reception to check on phone messages.


Aramoana Beach


Aramoana Homestead

At the south end of the beach is this large rock shelf.  This shelf runs from just North of north of Porongahau to north of Kairakau.




This is a long shot looking south toward Blackhead which is just north of Porangahau


The south end of Aramoana Beach

Roy decided to walk the 4.5km back to Pourerere following the rock shelf around the coast.



Well even up here there is evidence of Moeraki boulders.  Very round and very large.  Will come back to these in a later post.

On to Porangahau via Wimbledon

April 22, 2016


Who knew that New Zealand had its own Wimbledon? I for one did not know until we passed through on our way to Porangahau from our Woodville interlude.   Wimbledon is apparently named after the English town renown for tennis, legend has it that the name stuck after a local farmer shot cattle at such a distance that a local remarked ‘that shot was good enough for Wimbledon’. 

There was a good area opposite the pub for us both to pull into with our rigs, it seemed only fair that we stayed for lunch.


Parked on the side of the road



The Wimbledon Tavern

A quick bite to eat and we were on our way again.

Our next stop was on the side of the road to see the hill known as "Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu", which translates into English as "the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as ‘landeater’, played his flute to his loved one." Locals simply call it Taumata Hill.  It is, apparently, the longest place name in the world.


The Place name


The description

We arrived in Porangahau to a welcome sign indicating where we are allowed to park.  The area is administered by the Central Hawkes Bay Council, permission is required to park in many of the places along this coast but all it takes is a quick phone call to organise (just ensure you do this before venturing to these beaches as reception in some of the beaches  is non existent).   Porangahau is a long sandy beach stretching for some distance

Marj has a new mode of transport…..a segway!  This is a great way for her to be able to accompany Brian on his daily walks  and she very kindly has allowed me to practise on it.


Bernice and Brian walking with Marj wheeling along


Bernice showing her skills.

Its a great mode of transport, which makes easy work of all types of surfaces including beaches, forest walks and even up and down small steps & slopes.  What’s more – its rather fun!


No These are not Marj’s tracks in the sand.  They are made by some critter which I have been unable to identify.14

Obviously whatever it is has some form of legs on either side of its body.


It’s tracks start and finish in this type of depression in the sand.


And finally a seagull at dawn.

Bistronomy Napier

April 21, 2016

I apologise now for the following blog – it’s food porn at its best!  We had heard about a new restaurant called Bistronomy in Napier so we decided to go to celebrate Roy’s birthday.  We decided on the six course degustation menu with matching wines and what was to follow was a treat in all senses.  You can read all about them here

First course was Crumbed mussel with ras al hanout aioli on vegetable spaghettini – oops we ate them before I took the picture  
Smoked mackerel fillet | confit heirloom tomato | pumpernickel crumb | basil ice cream  
Golden egg | mushroom vegemite | Hohepa vintage tasty


Pork cheek | cooked sauerkraut | granny smith | fermented garlic | caraway   
Grilled Waikanae blue beef skirt | pistachio chilli chimi churi | spinach  
Chocolate Mousse | chocolate sorbet | shortbread | extra virgin olive oil and aged balsamic  
And to prove that we were there…  


Masterton & Wellington catch up

April 19, 2016


Whilst in Masterton we visited the local library.  Along the back wall was a mural of stitched/appliqued/quilted/embroidered panels which the Wairarapa Embroiderers Guild constructed.  The embroidered wall hanging consists of 110 panels, with each panel commemorating an event of significance in the history of the Wairarapa. 



They are truly an amazing piece of handwork by some very talented locals.

And the following two pictures are from when Roy met up with Natalie and her children to collect the books we had picked up for them.

8_thumbRenee with some of her stash of books, eager to get home to start reading them.


Michelle dressed herself for the occasion…ballet skirt, yellow gumboots,  completing the outfit  with a stuffed toy waistband accessory!  What every young fashionable person should be wearing this autumn.  Remember you saw it here first folks.

Happy Birthday Roy!

April 18, 2016

So THAT’S what you look like without a mo!  


April 16, 2016

As I mentioned in the last blog posting, I returned from the netball in Wellington on Tuesday via the train at 10am and by 11 we were all packed up and on our way to Woodville to meet up with Brian & Marj.  We arrived in Woodville an hour later to find them already comfortably parked up and waiting for us.  We had not long settled ourselves in when we got a phone call which meant a return to Masterton.  But first, the back story.

 The other day Roy opened up his laptop computer  to discover he had a cracked and broken screen rendering the computer useless.  This was not good.  You see Roy requires his computer for work (we run a small internet based business) which required some urgent work to be done therefore he needed a quick repair done.  He managed for a day or so by using the TV screen from the bedroom as a computer screen.  To do this, we took the TV off the wall in the bedroom and propped up on his desk, then ran the computer using the TV as the screen – this was a reasonable temporary fix and manageable for a day or so.   Monday morning he took it to a store in Masterton to see if they could replace the screen for him. Yes they could but the parts had to be ordered and sent by courier, all of which would take a few days.  We dropped the computer in to the store before we left Masterton on Tuesday morning hoping for the best as they estimated we could pick it up on Thursday. We figured that we could drive back from wherever we were to pick it up when it was ready.  But as it turned out, this was not to be……they had replace the screen and it was ready for pickup Tuesday afternoon! 

So no sooner had we arrived in Woodville when we got the phone call, just as we had settled ourselves in.  We unhitched the car and returned to Matserton to pick up the computer, arriving back in Woodville for the second time that day by early evening.  

All in all,  I had travelled a few miles that day,  first by train form Wellington to Masterton, then in the van from Masterton to Woodville, then Woodville to Masterton and return to Woodville by car.  

We spent a couple of nights in Woodville whilst we organised ourselves and had a good look around the town.  There seems to be a very good collection of second hand/antique stores to fossick through and a large number of cafes and bakeries. There is a replica of Gottfried Lindauer’s artist studio as he lived in the town and was buried here.  Lindauer is a famous New Zealand portrait painter who worked in the late 1800’s through to his death in 1920. He is particularly known for his paintings of Maori.  You can read more about him here

Outside the library was this interesting sculpture   

Next we start exploring the southern Hawkes Bay coast. 

Out of range

April 13, 2016

Just a quick update before normal service returns, as we are out of cell phone range for a while.  We are exploring the southern region of Hawkes Bay before getting to the Napier/Hastings area next week.  We are moving from Pourerere to Kairakau today and are hopeful that somewhere along the journey we get some cell and Internet coverage – well, you won’t be reading this if we don’t!  

As a tease, this is the view from my bedroom window…….  

  Not a bad sight to wake up to in the mornings!!