Our last three nights of our holiday were spent in Napier. Travis was also in town having spent the last few nights our tramping so we met up in Hastings at the weekly night market for some good food. There were a few craft stalls and a dozen or so food stalls from which we chose kebabs and for myself nachos, and very nice it all was too. There was a bouncy castle that Alayna was very interested in and she also enjoyed exploring some sheep statues that were just the right height for looking over. Back at the motel once Alayna was asleep we all spent the next few hours playing cards over a few drinks, something we haven’t really done in decades.
The next day was blue skies with fluffy clouds, warm with a gentle breeze, the perfect summer day. We had a look around the Arataki Honey shop and information centre and then drove to a favourite place from a past visit, Birdwoods Gallery. The gallery is stocked full of interesting artwork and outside is a large back yard lined with sculpture brought in from South Africa. We looked around the shop and then ordered some food to eat outside in the shade of a couple of large trees. The food looked wonderful and tasted better and Alayna entertained our fellow diners as she was walked around the back yard.
I took Alayna to explore some of the sculptures and she loved climbing into a steampunk-style set of chairs and a bench made out of old car parts. There were also more sheep, these one metal and covered in ivy, that Alayna took a liking to and then a short crawl over to a large ball constructed from horseshoes. In the more formal field at the back of the property where there was a gate covered in flowering honeysuckle (a noxious weed perhaps but it looked pretty and smelled really good) and more stone sculpture. There was also an adjacent field which was home to a couple of horses. Alayna was very keen to see the horses but then kept a wary distance as we fed one some grass.
Over the next few days we walked around Napier and introduced Alayna to icecream (which was liked very much).
We drove out to Pekapeka wetland south of Hastings and wandered the boardwalk and looking at the birdlife including a family of swans, numerous swallows, a pair of dabchick and some little shags. At the wetland lookout Alayna took an interest in one of my cameras, she’s ovbiously been watching me as she knows to put her eye to the back of the camera (even if she hasn’t yet figured out where the eyepiece is or what it does).
We walked along the coastline at Ahuriri and had more icecream before walking to the small lighthouse where there were a number of people fishing off the point. Alayna spent some time crawling on the grass and then playing in the rocks on the beach.
There was a good playground nearby and we helped Alayna swing (a favourite activity), go up and down the slide and crawl around the other equipment.
Our last morning we took a short walk around part of the Ahuriri Estuary and took a couple of family photos as a last momento of the holiday.
Our drive home was down SH2 and we had a good lunch in a sweltering Greytown before wandering the shops. I’m pretty sure James Cameron now owns a slice of the town so it was a appropriate that we passed him on the street. The final hours drive to Porirua was without incident and it was good to get back home to some welcoming cats. Summer has been good to us so far, long may that continue.