Our drive up to Napier from Greytown included a few quick stops, most within the first hour of the trip — some more worth the stop than others. Our first stop was at the Clairville Bakery. This was well worth the stop – providing us with treats along way, including some that did not make it out of the bakery. The suggestion was to stop for a cronut (which I indulged in), while the others gravitated to muffins, a lemon tart, and a cream filled donut. Not to be forgotten was our $4.50 coffee (the going rate, as you will remember from earlier posts)! We also picked up meat pies for our first dinner in Napier.
After the bakery we pulled into Masterton where we enjoyed a visit to The Woolshed to learn about the production of wool in New Zealand. It too was well worth the stop as the staff at the Woolshed provided us with plenty of information on the different wools, how it gets from the sheep to wool or as pointed out natural insulation for in the walls of your home. We had just missed the shearing championships (Golden Shears) the week before we arrived, which brings together the top 70 or so shearers to compete over several days. They are marked on quality, completeness and time. Apparently the sheep in NZ have decreased from over 70 million to just 27 million now — a declining industry for sure, but still vastly outnumbering the people here!
Next on our list of stops for the day was the Mt. Bruce Wildlife Sanctuary where we eagerly anticipated seeing a Kiwi bird (logo on everything here — but you’re only likely to see one in captivity), along with other native birds. This stop was not nearly as good as the first two, as we invested $67 in entry fees to see a few birds, some closed/empty avaries and a two kiwis in the dark (given they are nocturnal) — one awake and one asleep. The saving grace was the relatively inexpensive lunch we were able to enjoy at the café. (Guess which of these photos we took of a live kiwi vs. the poster on the wall of what we were anticipating seeing! They’re usually brown…)
We then buckled down for the remaining portion of the trip,arriving at our next stop to find another great place to stay in a cottage up the hill in Napier overlooking the botanical gardens (owned by the same talented “curator” as the home near Gold Coast, Australia). Our accommodations in the home exchanges over the course of the trip have been simply wonderful, and our home for the five nights in Napier is no exception.