Monday, June 16, 2014

Napier to Masterton then on to Wellingtonn, NZ – Monday, June 16, 2014

Our goal today is to arrive in the town of Masterton, NZ by 12:00 noon to have lunch with a couple we stayed with in 1996.  Just yesterday they arrived home from a 16 day vacation in Hawaii, so you can imagine how busy they are catching up at the business as well as home, therefore lunch is the ideal time to get together.

We were told the drive from Napier to Masterton was about 2 hours so when we left the motel this morning we thought we had plenty of time to take the more scenic route.  This took us through the vineyards where lots of wineries are located and through the area considered the “fruit bowl of New Zealand”.  In this area south of Napier they grow every kind of fruit for export – 85 varieties of pip and stone fruits. Apples are the largest crop – how often don’t we see apples in our grocery isles from NZ, especially the Gala’s and Fiji apples. We saw orchards and vineyards for miles and miles. 

Sheep in the Vineyard

More Vineyards
They also use their sheep for grazing in the vineyards, at least this time of year when the vines are dormant.  I doubt they let the sheep graze when there are leaves and new stems, but then what do I know!  It is an ideal way to keep the weeds and grass in tow. 

After we were out of the fruit area we began seeing a huge concentration of sheep in paddocks and on the hillsides with lots of well-maintained shearing sheds.  

Sheep Country

It was a beautiful drive however we were not getting to our destination very fast!!  Once we were on the main road we started making time until we came to a mountain range that slowed us down.

We pulled into the appointed café at 11:58am!!! And as we were walking into the café our friend pulled up! What timing!   After a great lunch and wonderful conversation, we went to his place of business, Masterweave.  When we visited in 1996 they were using wool yarn to weave blankets and other items. Now he has advanced to using only Mohair and Alpaca yarn – in other words he has moved into a very specialty market. The primary items they make are throws and scarfs in all colors - they are simply beautiful and you must touch them for the softness.

Weaving Loom

Finished Product

We are on the road again! This time our destination is the capital city of Wellington, NZ which is at the south end of the north island of New Zealand.  We will be returning our car to the rental company before 5:00.  We had a great drive, including one mountain range to summit which definitely slowed us down - of course we had to stop for the view at the top!!

Our Highway to Wellington
Tomorrow morning we will be on the 8:00 ferry from Wellington (on the north island) to Picton (on the south island).   It is a 3 ½ hour sail across Cook Strait.  After we disembark at 11:30 we will pick up another car and be on our way to city of Nelson located farther west where we will be with friends who we learned to know in 1996 and have been to see us in Iowa - even rode on RAGBRAI (the bicycle ride across Iowa).              

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