Hawke's Bay, North Island...New Zealand (Part 1)

Before I open today's post I have to pass on my best wishes to anyone who has been affected by 'Hurricane Sandy'... 
I hope you are all safe, well and that damage is minimal.
You are in my thoughts...take care ;D
And so our journey of the North Island of New Zealand carries on....
Our next destination is Hawke's Bay.
A location that is drenched in 2200 hours of sunshine annually! 

With an abundance of sunshine, Mediterranean climate, grapevine covered hillsides and a thriving gourmet food and wine industry, Hawke's Bay is the Tuscany of the South Pacific.
Lying on the sun-drenched east coast this tasty region is paradise and one of New Zealand's top wine and food destinations.
Are you're like me? Because if you are...that sounds like an ideal location right!
So once more we're off on the road south-east to Hawke's Bay.

But first the journey...yet again we were blown away by some incredible scenery along the way.
One being Lake Taupo (pronounced toe-paw) which covers an area roughly the same size as Singapore and was formed thousands of years ago by a massive eruption. 
It is a popular holiday location plus offers a huge expansive water-based activities, but there's also plenty to do on land too.
Jetboat to volcanic air safaris, hot pools to skydiving, and lake cruises to trout fishing. Tramping, bungy jumping over the Waikato river, 4x4 motorbiking, whitewater rafting, horse trekking, mountain biking, abseiling, rock climbing and golf!
Phewph...I'm tired just typing this list. So there's has to be something here for everyone surely?

I think if you can name it...Lake Taupo provides the facilities to enable you to do it!
With hindsight I think we should have squeezed a few nights stay here, but if you've been following this road trip you'll understand that we've crammed in as much as we could, so there's nothing more for it than to ensure we come back this way again!

We did stop off for a few hours to see Haka Falls which is New Zealand's most visited scenic reserve.

The falls are located on the Waikato River, the longest river in New Zealand and the only outlet for Lake Taupo. The power of these falls is incredible to both see and feel...the bridge we were standing on trembled beneath our feet as the water surged beneath.

About 200,000 litres of water plunge 9 metres over the great rock face every second ~ that's enough to fill five Olympic swimming pools every minute
Such a momentus flow of water creates a dangerous undertow at the bottom of the falls, this has claimed the craft of many river users who have been foolhardy enough to try to navigate the falls. 

 Upstream of the falls, the Waikato is clear and reflective. After plunging over the falls it picks up masses of tumbling air bubbles which create breathtaking colours and give the falls their name, after the Maori word for 'foam'.

But we must move on to reach our next accommodation.
I have to admit after staying in some wonderful places along the way with superb hosts and brilliant accommodation, I did wonder if our bubble might burst...but I needn't have worried...
Telegraph Hill Villas offered private superior accommodation in a peaceful setting with panoramic views that show off New Zealand's unique beauty. 
As soon as we saw the villa we knew we were in for a special stay.
With comfortable modern interiors, relaxing private surroundings, panoramic views, huge skies, undulating hillsides, nestled within the trees of a working olive grove, but also within easy reach of Havelock North village...positively perfect!
Or as someone described it 'Heaven on a Hill'
This photo shows Villa 2....

We were lucky to stay in both Villa 1 and Villa 2...just so that I didn't miss anything! 
I know but in the interest of research these things must be done...
...you can't say I don't go that extra mile for you ;D

Both Villas provide a quality retreat of style, charm and elegance.

It's difficult to tear yourself away from the view which is constantly changing. 
These changes make it a spectacular stunning backdrop. I can't imagine ever tiring of just sitting and observing.

 I would have been quite content to just stay for the whole of our visit just looking at the view, but then Hawke's Bay has so much more to offer that that wasn't an option.

 The current owners of Telegraph Hill Villas...Rose and Jeremy Gresson upon buying the land researched extensively the history and diaries of Bernard Chambers which makes fascinating reading. 
(Details are available in the villa)
(A little snippet....The property known as Te Mata block was purchased from the Crown by John Cambers in 1854. John Chambers landed at Napier with his wife and 3 children in 1852. 
He had been in Australia since 1840 where he had met his wife and had 3 children. 
His 4th child ~ a girl was the 3rd white child to be born in Hawke's Bay)

Rose and Jeremy bought their block of land at auction in 1993. 
They started building their home in August 1994.
The 100 olive trees between the house and Villa were planted in April 1995. 

 The second planting of 600 olive trees in the bottom paddock took place in April 1997. The next two years 1998 and 1999, 1200 more were planted. 
Villa 2 was opened in 2003 and at the same time Villa 1 was altered to become a 1 bedroom villa. 


Jeremy and Rose pressed the first olive oil in 2001. 
After this first pressing Telegraph Hill Ltd was born in Rose's kitchen....and oh my... its grown!
Take a peek into their website through the link above to see their extensive products.
You can also see Rose in a video clip demonstrating one of the recipes she created using a combination of cream cheese with date olive and orange Relish.
The Olivery offers a fresh gourmet food experience where you can view production, taste products, have lunch, and purchase their full range of products. 
Yep we left with rather a large selection pondering the question would they fit into our luggage, what our weight allowance might be and would Australian customs allow the products into the country?!?!!
 During the next 10 years the business grew to be the largest producer of table olives in New Zealand with products sold all over the country.
Rose is not only a perfect host she's an amazing woman, who I personally feel privileged to have met.
She is such a dynamic, driven woman that you can't help but be inspired by her outlook on life! 
Along with lots of other interests Rose has a passion for golf....hence she willingly offered to invite us to spend an afternoon at her golf club. 
Her patience must have truly been tested to the limit with someone (I'm saying nothing here on the grounds that it might incriminate me) that at every opportunity whipped out the camera for yet another shot...
Bless you Rose ;D 

And so we returned to 'heaven on a hill'...
How amazing is that light?
I knew I'd be in the picture with my shadow, but then I wanted to capture the photo without stressing too much about little incidentals like that! ;D

Everywhere you looked there was something to be captured....

The cattle and sheep to the side of the property often came across to stand and stare back at us....

....especially when I had classical music playing loudly across the hillside.
There were also pheasants, blackbirds and thrust constantly busy about the garden area. 
Oh yes and lots of hawks flying aroung the hillside enjoying the thermals...
I was a little worried for all the bunnies but thankfully never saw any mishaps!

The sky darkens with lengthening shadows as the sun begins to set....

Then as if that's not enough there's something extra special thrown in...
A double rainbow! 
Surely that's a sign we're in a 'happy place'?

I have to tell you that the view stretched for miles and miles across the hillside.
Through vineyards and orchards down to the sea...plus up away to the snow-capped mountains which surround the food basket of the North Island as Havelock North is know.

And so on that note it's time to call it a day...until tomorrow that is when I'll probably be up at dawn just to sit and look at that view once again.

Because the light and shadows where quite remarkable I couldn't resist entering this post into Jenn's Artist Play Room because this week's theme happens to be shadows! 
Take a peek at some amazing artists through the link above and see their interruption of shadow.

I'll be carrying on with our tour of Havelock North, Napier and Hawke's Bay in my next post...
(Don't worry we're almost there...our holiday is coming to a close...sigh...)

In the meantime have a wonderful weekend everyone wherever you are. https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1508618.gif