Here we are at the end of our day all the way north (?) in Napier. Kirsten and the girls got all the farm things done and we were on the way by 9:40 - without maps! After a quick stop for gas we hit the highway going out of Wellington and down (up?) highway 2. It wasn't long before the "wow's" were rolling in my head. NZ is such a beautiful country. It seems that no matter where your eye goes there is something wonderful to see.
The roads were wide and not too curvy until we hit the Rimutaka Hills - OMG,YIKES, and gosh that is a long way down! Kirsten got us safely to the other side where the roads straighted and widened for much of the rest of our drive. It took us ages and ages, but we made several stops, including a leisurely stop in Greytown. Further up the road we drove through Dannevirke, a Scandinavian town.
One of the towns we stopped in had a candy store where the girls got giant gobstoppers! The same town had a place where we picked up a few mince pies for lunch.
The valley was wide with hills and mountains in the distance. It seemed like good farmland, but for the most part we didn't see any crops, just hay and pasture. There were fields and fields of sheep, but also many herds of dairy cattle. Strangely we didn't see any big barns, nor any silos. Dairy farming seems to be much different here. (I thought of you Christina!)
The other thing we saw were lots of pull off picnic and viewing spots. It seemed to be well set up for tourists.
Once we got to Napier we stopped at an information spot where they helped us to find a hotel (we are beachfront, but no view from the window - long story there). We walked across the road to the beach once we got settled in and then found a little pizza "place" with yummy thin crust pizza. After that we drove to the Ocean Spa, a beach front area with cold, warm and hot salt water pools. It was a lovely way to unwind after a long day in the car.
I should have kept a notepad beside me as we were driving, cause now I'm too tired to remember everything! I tried to post photos but it isn't working :-( I'll try later.