Yesterday was another travel day, as we headed from Napier to Lake Tarawera, near Rotorua in an area of hot springs in the central part of the North Island of New Zealand.
Before leaving Hawke’s Bay (the province where Napier is located, on the east coast), we stopped at the Hasting’s Sunday Farmers’ Market. It’s the oldest and larges of its kind in NZ, and there are few things I like better than a good market. I also like getting there just as things are getting underway. We parked under a big tree with an old-fashioned swing and wandered around for a bit. We bought a few provisions for the journey, a good coffee (to share — can’t afford Starbucks prices every day), plus the requisite pastries that seem to be everywhere here.
Then it was 3 hours on the road. We stopped for lunch at Pauly’s Diner in Taupo (burgers, shakes, fried chicken) — a lovely, touristy, lakeside town — and arrived in Lake Tarawera mid-afternoon.
Our hosts were waiting for us. They divide their time between their lake house and their main residence in Auckland. There were big hugs, followed by a tour and explanations of a few of the house’s quirks, which is always helpful. They couldn’t have been kinder. They’d left us a basket of NZ goodies to enjoy — wine, cheese, chocolate — and encouraged us to make ourselves completely at home. They’ve intentionally “avoided fuss” at this house, and signs of their 2 daughters and 8 grandchildren are everywhere, including on the wall in the family room. They headed off to Auckland and it didn’t take long for us to settle in with our books on the deck to enjoy the view!