A dark wind is blowing from the east
When we driving down the scenic road to Raglan I nearly crashed the car because I was co-performing another Kreator song that had found its way on the playlist. Why is it that so many metal songs contain a line like ‚a dark wind is blowing from the east‘? Are they all eastophobic? Is that some kind of Western cultural heritage, where all things dark and evil come from the east? Whatever, Kreator certainly is the right soundtrack for approaching the beautiful black sand beaches of Raglan. We climbed Mt Karioi this time, because we caught one of the rare cloudless moments, beautiful views across the coast.
We then took off a day earlier than originally planned because I had to find an Internet Café that was open long enough in the evening to allow a Skype call to Germany. And, to be frank, I couldn’t stand the stinking backpackers anymore. 😉 we’d stayed at the same place as a couple of years before, still a very nice and well run hostel, Raglan waterfront.
We took another look at the forecast and decided to go to Napier next. Which kinda made our trip an inverted TSP. Nix für den optimierer in mir. 😀
Napier then, we stayed at the criterion art deco, right in the middle of the city, which made parking a challenge, but the very friendly owner of the hostel solved that for us. I just love this country and the people here. The hostel is in a beautiful art deco building and must have the most beautiful lounge ever. Good kitchen facilities too. Napier itself is not really my cup of tea, but there’s enough to do and see in the vicinity, so it’s a good base. We drove into the Kaweka forest Park, the drive alone was an experience to remember, lots of scenic gravel one way fort crossing road. And at the end of the road, natural hot springs, just there. And a beautiful hike through a wonderful forest along a wild river and limestone cliffs. At the end of the hike, more natural hot pools. How cool is that? What a great day. And all free. 🙂 that evening we went to Hell, I just have to eat there once every vacation. I like the pizzas, the marketing, the brand. Just great, wish we had that back home.
We also explored the whole Napier, Hastings, havelock North area, there’s orchards selling fresh produce on every corner, real fruit ice-cream galore, real cheese … and of course wine and other boring stuff. And since Napier is also plagued with one of the most ugliest scourges of the modern age, cruise ships, there’s plenty of overpriced tourist rip off stuff as well. So avoid the Silky Oaks chocolate place and ignore the food trail brochure, just drive along those roads and stop whenever you see something of interest. Also avoid Café Divine in Napier, muffins very dry and tasted mainly of baking soda. Opposite is Ujazi, much better, good food and smoothies.
And then there’s the beaches. A couple of k South of Napier is ocean beach, where Harald and I managed to catch some great waves and had loads of fun.
I love Harald, he has such a great body. I like laying on top of him. 😀
So I think we’ve kinda caught up with what’s been happening, Taranaki was next, then Te Kuiti, where we stayed at a very charming B&B aptly named ’simply the best‘. We explored the road beyond crowded waitomo, after you pass the last roundabout behind the i-site there’s not a soul in sight, just great forest, waterfalls, caves, beach. Lovely. For dinner we went to a place I’d dined at on my first trip to nz ten years ago, Huhu restaurant. And it’s still really good. Great setting, great food, good service. Decently priced, relaxed atmosphere. Certainly one of the best restaurants between Wellington and Auckland.
The next day we headed North and stopped in Te Awamutu to admire the beautiful rose garden. One block away from said gardens is the red kitchen cafe, and I kid you not, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Awesome baked goods, the savory stuff looked good too, but I did of course fall for the sweet options, which were simply sweet as. Heaven! Go there if you’re ever in the area.