We haven't had much of a holiday in the last few months as we have been finishing off the house and have had a lot of different visitors, followed by a lot of work - so Aaron organised for us to take a break in Hawkes Bay over the Queen's birthday long weekend (yes I know it is weird that we celebrate the Queen's birthday in New Zealand and Australia, although it isn't much of a celebration, just an excuse for a holiday). We have only been up to Hawkes Bay once before, a few months after we arrived over the Christmas break, so it was a chance to explore the area properly - making sure that we tasted the food and wine which the region is well known for.
Other than visiting a few wineries and tasting some cheese, honey and various other delicacies we tried to work off a few calories with a walk up and around Te Mata Peak - a large limestone hill just outside of Havelock North.
We also took the excuse to go tramping in the Ruahine's (the range north of the Tararuas - which are the mountains just to the north of Wellington). We walked the main walking track up to Sunrise Hut, where we dumped our bags and walked up to one of the peaks.
Sunrise Hut just on the treeline
On top of the unnamed peak just to the north of the hut 1499 m high
Aaron with the views of the mountains and the hut just on the ridge to the left
We stayed in the hut overnight and had a very romantic meal of rehydrated morroccan lentils by candle light (our kind of romantic).
The next morning we were up with the sunrise and headed out on a bit of an epic adventure climbing up to the the top of Te Atuaoparapara peak, then down a scree slope on the other side and then down the Waipara River back to the road. 6 hours of walking, battling the wind, scrambling, scree skiing, bush bashing, wading across the river countless times - back to the car.
The ridge up to the top of Te Atuaoparapara - it was really windy and I didn't really want to walk too close to the edge in case I was blown over as it was a sheer drop down the other side.
One of the many times we crossed the Waipara River