A beautiful forest, fields of lavender, the white-capped waves of Hawks Bay, and a spectacular golf course. This describes the next couple of days in New Zealand. The 40-minute plane ride in a small jet was much better than anticipated, and when we landed there was again a driver holding up our names, this never got old. We drove through Napier City, a beautiful little art-deco Capital of New Zealand, and about 45 minutes later we arrived at one of the most enchanting spots I had ever been, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. We were greeted like royalty and were told to treat this as our home. He showed us to our own private cottage on a hill that had views of a beautiful golf course and a bay that will take your breath away. Our cottage had a stocked fridge, heated bathroom floors, a shower bigger than my bathroom at home and a balcony that looked out to serenity. This magnificent property has 6000 acres of beauty, even though it was the beginning of winter and they were in a drought, it was still beautiful and I can only imagine it’s perfection in the summer. Since we had a few hours before dinner we set out to explore, in only an 8 kilometer we walked along sheep lined trails with breathtaking views of Hawks bay where we stood on rock with a colony of gannets.
For dinner we were greeted by a sommelier and enjoyed a wonderful glass of New Zealand wine, a sampling of appetizers and then were served a wonderful dinner as we looked out to the golf course and the bay. We enjoyed the sunset as soft jazz and big band music played in the background. It was remarkable to experience this kind of service and attention. We returned to our cottage, fell immediately into bed where the blankets enveloped us like a giant marshmallow.
The next morning as the sun rose we journeyed off to hike through the lavender fields, a beautiful forest which made us feel as if we were in the hobbit movie, and when we had our fill we finished our day cooling off by the pool.
Although we didn’t have time to enjoy the spectacular golf course or the amazing spa, anyone who has a desire to travel to this beautiful area should plan on staying at least 4 or 5 days, to experience the entire resort, as well as spend time wandering through Napier and visiting its miles of local beaches. For more views of this portion of our journey watch my video at Napier and the Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Its rolling hills, rocky cliffs, fields of lavender, sheep, gannets and friendly people made this place truly special.
The anxiety started while thinking of being locked in a plane for 13 hours. As we were not flying 1st class, all I could think about was cramped spaces, expensive drinks and bad food, WAS I WRONG. Air New Zealand was wonderful, never felt cramped and enjoyed free drinks, Australian wine, inflight entertainment and good food. My first impression of what this trip was going to offer was wonderful. After a good night sleep sitting up. It was with much anticipation that we landed in this new country on the other side of the world. We had no problems going through customs, picked up our luggage and was greeted by a wonderful private driver with Platinum Chauffeur Drive, never having a chauffeur before it was a new experience that I found out enhances every trip. He was friendly and filled us in about all the particulars of Auckland, as he spoke highly of his home. We arrived at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbor hotel, the hotel over looked the marina, and had a great view of the Sky tower. We settled in and not having any jetlag we set out to explore this new city.
Imagine walking through the marina seeing beautiful sail boats, amazing yachts and wonderful catamarans. The slight breeze in your hair, simply amazing. Then you picture the same area during the hustle and bustle of the Americas cup, another item for my bucket list. We strolled along the dock, had Gelato by the shore, and visited an Irish pub. The Viaduct harbor has so much to see and food of every nationality. We took a ferry over to Devonport, a unique part of Auckland, wondered through a historic village and got lost wandering the quaint neighborhoods.
As we returned back to the Viaduct harbor we strolled up Queens street. Where we set out to see as much as we could since we only had a short time in this cosmopolitan city. The Sky Tower makes this city unique and gives a special mark to its skyline and to our surprise houses a Casino. This attraction also gives the thrill seeker a “must do” as they bungee off the top of the tower. We spent a few more hours walking through town with its Gucci, Cartier as well as the many local vendors. This bustling city has something for everyone. We settled down for the night, while I anticipated flying for the first time in a small plane in the morning. But I loved what came next………….. to be continued.