Monday, 10 June 2013

Back to Napier in the Fifth-Wheeler

Once Dad was well on the road to recovery I returned to Tauranga with the promise that both David & I would return in the fifth-wheeler in a couple of weeks time so we could help with some of the outside chores that Dad wouldn't be able to do over winter.

We stayed once again at the NZMCA park over property in Taupo on the first night, cutting the four hour trip to Napier in two. There were only another four RVs parked up so we had the pick of positions to park, not that we got to see much as it was cold & bleak outdoors. As yet we have no heating in the fifth-wheeler unless we are plugged into power so this was going to be our first winter's night with no warmth. It wasn't too bad once we were all  rugged up in bed & we took our time getting up the next morning, waiting for the sun to reach our little spot. A hearty cooked breakfast also warmed the cockles.

We had an uneventful trip over the Napier-Taupo road stopping of at the Tarawera Café for coffee which was pleasant enough. I must have passed the café (or hotel as it used to be) at least 300 or 400 times in my lifetime & I don't ever recall stopping. The parking area of the café is also a NZMCA POP (Park Over Property) & would be a great place to stop if you weren't wanting to travel the road all in one go. Apparently there is great trout fishing in the stream close by & the owner (who wasn't there that day) is happy to show fishermen the rights spots.

We arrived in Napier in good time and set the fifth-wheeler up on the concrete pad next to Mum & Dads once again. We spent the next week on & off water blasting the house & paths, cleaning the windows, planting out the vege garden along with some flower plants & spaying weeds & moss along with a few other bits & pieces.  Dad was still progressing well but was getting a little frustrated that he couldn't help out.

I managed to get some more photography in, this time I had heard that there was a Royal Spoonbill & a White Heron feeding in a creek that ran alongside a suburban street. Both these birds are quite rare in NZ but small numbers tend to winter over in Hawkes Bay each year. There is a resident population of about 20 spoonbills that usually feed on the Ahuriri salt flats & estuary but this one obviously though dinner was better served from the creek in town. And sure enough I found them both there, the spoonbill was very obliging & allowed me to get quite close. Unfortunately it was a very dark & overcast late afternoon so the lighting wasn't that great.

Royal Spoonbill, Maori name Kotuku-nutupapa
White Heron, Maori name Kotuku

Once the house chores were finished we spent a bit of time tiki-touring around the Bay. We met family for lunch at the Puketapu Hotel which was very pleasant, the restaurant is very busy especially on the weekends as the hotel is at the turn around point of one of the local cycle trails. After lunch we took the back roads through to Paki Paki which is south of Hastings, I wanted to check out the Pekapeka Wetlands which I'd passed with Mum on our way to Wellington a few weeks ago. We passed these cute bee hives along the way.

Pekapeka is a relatively small swamp, it has a rail line along one border & a major state highway on another. It has slowly been restored to it's former glory after years of neglect & abuse. The wetland had been used as an illegal dump over the years; the remains of a hotel are buried under the swamp somewhere and willows once infested & dried out the wetland where now raupo(bulrush) grows. There wasn't much birdlife to be seen other than a few swans and a couple of ducks but this is probably because it's duck shooting season & even though there's no shooting they've probably been scared away. It was a beautiful sunny day & a lovely walk around the boardwalks.


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