Monday, February 6, 2017

Sailing Lake Taupo and driving to Napier

We took advantage of the perfect conditions and booked a 5pm cruise around Lake Taupo yesterday afternoon on the good (sailing ship) Barbary.
There were 19 of us on board + the skipper. There was a good wind blowing on the lake so trying to keep "an even keel" (and not sliding off the side of the boat) did detract somewhat from feeling too relaxed most of the time.

One of the best parts of the trip was chatting to our neighbours Joel and Erin (yes Ros!!). They were a pair of smart, savvy New Yorkers - on their honeymoon in NZ, so we had some great talks over the 2 and half hour trip about the Donald and what was going on in the US that made people vote for him. Joel works for the ABC (American Broadcasting Company) so we was super cool, smart and switched on, as was Erin!

The weather could not have been more perfect!

The Maori rock carving on the north west side of Lake Taupo on the cliffs of Mine Bay gives these sailing trips a great highlight destination - as the bay is only accessible by water. They were created in the late 1970s and the main 10 metre high carving of the face is intended to protect the lake from any more volcanic activity underneath.

We had a slow start this  morning and it was well after 10.00am before we were on the road again. First of all we stopped at the Huka Falls (5 minutes out of Taupo) to see this part of the Waikato River, the longest river in NZ. It starts from the eastern slopes of my favourite Mt Ruapehu, flows through Lake Taupo and ends up eventually flowing into the Tasman Sea, south of Auckland.

The river only falls about 9 metres at this point but the volume of water over the falls often approaches 220,000 litres a second (enough to fill 4 Olympic sized swimming pools a minute).

The drive to Napier was another easy, less than 2 hour drive through undulating forests (and another magnificent waterfall along the way) and then lots of orchards and vineyards as we drove through the Esk Valley closer to Napier. 
We rewarded ourselves after arriving in Napier with a delicious lunch at The Gintrap at West Quay, Ahuriri, the site of Napier's old fishing port (now a boat harbour!).

I was very pleased with my choice: sea scallops, avocado and aioli and a strawberry, tomato, sumac and basil salad. I also tried a local Sauvignon Blanc (Elephant Hill) which went really well with these dishes.

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