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East Coast Holiday: Napier

Being in Napier it seemed only natural to visit a winery. We took ourselves to the Church Road winery for a tour and tasting. The first tour of the day only had six people including us so it was a quite intimate tour, though I’m thinking that touring wineries is something we won’t be doing much more as once you’ve seen the process once you’ve pretty much seen it all. Having said that at Church Road they had a couple of standout rooms. The Cuve Room with its large oak cuves (barrels) was very nice and the Tom McDonald Cellar, named for the wineries founder, is a striking room set up for functions overlooking the rows of barrels.

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The cuves of the Cuve Room

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Lined up barrels in the Tom McDonald Cellar

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Still in the Tom McDonald Cellar

After the tasting we ended up buying a bottle of wine and also a fruit bowl made out of a recycled barrel (Patricia, if you read this, it’s similar to the one you bought at the Drylands winery in Marlborough).

Heading towards the ocean we next paid a visit to the New Zealand National Aquarium. We spent a little over an hour looking at all the exhibits and got to see a diver hand feeding the fish in the main aquarium while the curious visitors watched from the glass walkway that circled through the tank. It was a nice enough visit, though the aquarium looks tired and many of the fish and other animals were listless. The tuatara looked horrid compared to the Zealandia specimens I’m used to seeing, and there was one shark with a chunk out of its jaw. I don’t think we’d go back unless there were kids in tow.

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The aquariums crocodile

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A colourful clown fish

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Circling the tank

Keryn had done a lot of research for the trip and in the afternoon we drove out near Havelock North to visit the Birdwoods Gallery. Named after the sculpture business of one of the owners the gallery has artwork from New Zealand and Africa. The owners Bruce and Louise Stobart came to New Zealand from Zimbabwe, providing the African link. The metal sculptures are wonderful, I ended up buying a Pukeko who now can be found walking across the living room floor at home.

Outside the gallery there is a separate building that houses an old fashioned sweet shop (which we didn’t visit) and out the back a sculpture garden featuring work bought in from Africa. We wandered around looking at the pieces in the garden, a set of three iron giraffe watching as we went from piece to piece.

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A monolith face

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The giraffe pretend not to watch

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A funky owl

We could have spent much more money, and I think we will be back here in the future (when we finally get that house perhaps). Birdwoods is worth a visit, if you’re in the area go have a look.

As an end to our driving around we stopped at the Filter Room, a bouteque brewery know for its ciders and beers. We selected six cider & beer variations for a tasting tray and sat outside while drinking them all. We talked to a british guy who had cycled out and had to be back in town in 20 minutes to return his bike, I don’t think he would have made it back in time.

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