Friday, March 26, 2010

Hawkes Bay

We left Martinborough about 9:30 and drove up through more valleys between more spectacular mountains to Havelock North, a small up-scale town south of Napier. There are lots of vineyards here and beautiful wineries. Te Mata Peak towers over the village - a tall barren mountain with craggy out-croppings and a few black cows way at the top munching the grass. How they get up there or why is a mystery. There must be lots of grass at the bottom!

We feel there are many more cattle (dairy and beef) here this time, and not so many sheep. Seems I read somewhere that farmers are converting over as there is more profit in milk than wool. That doesn't surprise me. Maybe the cattle won't munch all the vegetation down so far either.

We stopped yesterday at the Mount Bruce Wildlife Preserve. They specialize in breeding and protecting endangered species of birds. It's a beautiful place, and we actually saw a real kiwi in his cage. Since they are shy nocturnal birds, they make the kiwi house dark during the day so the birds will come out. NZ has lost almost 90% of the number of birds they once had, and some species are already extinct. It's good someone is trying to do something about the problem. (Part of which is the NZ possum - imported for fur from Australia but very hard on the bird population.) The preserve was beautiful bush and wetlands.

The "pirple" car is a good example of the Kiwi sense of humor. That's how they would pronounce "purple." Cousin Cliff wants to know if New Zealanders call kiwi fruit "our fruit?" He's pretty clever, too.

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