Friday, 22 March 2019

Highway To Well(ington)

The Kim Wilson Napier Tours™ itinerary (thanks Kim by the way) recommended various wineries, but we were unable to get to them all on our bikes, due to us not being Team Sky. But the next morning we're back in the car and though we're leaving Napier today, we could still tick off some of the KWNT™ sights. So first thing this morning (well 10 ish) we're going to the next destination recommended by Kim. No not a winery - we're not animals! We're off to find Lick This.

Breakfast ice creams finished... Now we can hit the wineries!

I'm driving so obviously I'm not going to be glugging back the vino, but Jus gets off to a good start at Elephant Hill, and we buy a couple of bottles based on her increasingly educated palate.

Having ticked off the KWNT™ must do sights, we now start the long journey down North Island towards the capital. There's not much to see on the way and the most direct route looked very boring, so we opted for a more scenic (and convoluted) journey down the east coast. We stopped at various small, remote beaches but even the smallest, most remote had good public facilities, toilets, changing rooms, drinking water fountains. It's something we've seen everywhere in NZ.

We drove through the place which, allegedly, has the longest name in the world.

And for hours we drove whilst seeing almost no one else, just small towns consisting of one or two houses, and lots of sheep. It made it feel like we were in a huge country though it's a similar size to ours, just with less than 10 percent of our population.

We finally arrived in Wellington at dusk, and dropped the rental car off at Thrifty (might get some sponsorship if I mention them) and then found our hotel. We'd arrived on the weekend when what seemed to be a mini Glastonbury was taking place in the city centre. Our hotel room was very funky, full of 1950s furniture, a slick modern bathroom suite and an old record player with a pile of vinyl.

Our window overlooked the Roots And Dance stage of "Glastington" and the walls were vibrating in sympathy with the event's huge sub-bass. We thought we'd drown it out with some old LPs, but on flicking through them we didn't appear to have been provided with the best choice in the world. It felt a bit like the selection you might find in an Age Concern charity shop.

I dug out my selection of the least worst - a George Benson album, Manhattan Transfer Live In Somewhere Or Other, and Kim Wilde's lesser-known 3rd LP (which presumably was the catalyst to her deciding to stop being a pop star and become a landscape gardener). Kim's album was actually pretty good in a mid-eighties kind of way, and we ate cheese, drank Elephant Hill wine, listened to Kim, and tried to ignore the mirror which was dancing on the wall to a different beat.

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