Monday, March 16, 2015

Hawkes Bay Weekend

I have just had a fabulous weekend away with my husband, visiting Hawkes Bay. Sight seeing and eating were the overriding themes!! Highlights: Overland Gannet Safari trip; Black Barn for lunch; Mister D's for dinner; Hastings Farmers Market; dining on the harbour's edge at Ahuriri; and Pekapeka Wetland. Fantastic.

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony. Thousands and thousands of birds nesting on the top of a 360 degree exposed plateau. They will all travel to Australia in April, once the chicks (grey) are ready to fly.
A child badgering it's mother for more regurgitated food. A lot of similarities to human children. See the green stripes on the mother's feet? They are thermal veins, which are used to incubate the egg - it stands on the egg to keep it warm. 
Stunning contrasts on their faces
Obviously not all of them have learnt to read yet.
The landscape is incredible, too. We travelled overland, but if you travel via the
coast, it is very reliant on the tide times. Not much accessible shoreline  to retreat to if the
tide comes in while you are up on top of the cliffs at the actual colony!!
This young one was so funny, just staring at me from a couple of metres away. 
This is how close we were to them. They totally disregarded the presence of humans.
Could have watched their interaction for hours!
Then the food......
The Black Barn market is closed until Spring, but this is the most stunning setting for the artisan foodies that sell here every weekend. The Oriental Plane trees are planted in a circle, creating a really intimate space. 

I adore everything about Black Barn - but particularly this Fig tree courtyard leading in to the restaurant. No photos of the stunning grape arbour we sat in for lunch, sorry. Too busy absorbing the atmosphere!! Just love love love it. 
Hastings Farmers Market. BLISS. French macarons, authentic bier sticks, handmade
chocolate, fresh fruit and veges, incredible bakeries......... Beautiful experience. 
A stunning part of the country to spend time in. Next time I will go with girlfriends, and we will bike the extensive cycle trails, and probably do a lot more shopping and wine tasting!! I will definitely be back!!

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