There were options on top of options in Napier. The art deco city tour was a big seller. The winery tour & tasting was sorely tempting. In the end, I went with food over beverage: chocolate and fruit.
Our first stop was in Hawke’s Bay, at Silky Oak Chocolate factory. Once we got off the bus (I hadn’t worn my sea-bands, now that we were on land, and BTW that is not a mistake I made twice) we were greeted at the door with a small sample, a demonstration, and a lot of interesting information about the history of the place, their chocolate-making practices, and some of the novel pieces they make (as well as info we would need if attempting to take any of the chocolate out of New Zealand). The samples were lovely (and surely medicinal as well though I’m sure just being off the bus helped as well).
At their gift shop, I picked up a few bites for the road: raspberry creme, passionfruit creme, and the absolutely to die for Chilli Ganache chocolates, before a quick browse through the Museum, and a stop in their cafe for a hot chocolate. Back on the bus we got a couple more samples – these packaged for travel – and off we went to our next stop, a very scenic visit at Te Mata Peak.
Absolutely stunning, and we could not have had a better day for it.
Then we pressed on… there was still more to see!
En route to our excursion at Lake Rotoiti in Tauranga the day before, we had passed through Te Puke (I know that looks very unappetizing; it’s pronounced roughly tay pu kay), which is where the vast majority of Kiwifruit comes from. Since our driver that day was from Te Puke, he was able to tell us that in addition to the fuzzy, green-innarded, somewhat acidic kiwi we’re (probably) all familiar with, they have other variations there, including a more egg-shaped, less fuzzy, sweeter gold kiwi (and even red varieties, etc)
At Pernel, I would get to try the gold kiwi (lovely!) as well as slices of three of their apple varieties, and their pears.
But first, we were greeted with Boysenberry ice cream (a first for me), piled into a pair of trams, and took a tour of the farm and orchards. The weather was fine and beautiful. (Plus I was so thankful not to be on the bus any more. Have I made it abundantly clear that I really wasn’t enjoying the bus this day?)
Officially our tour was over, with nothing left but to head back to the ship or explore the town on our own, but our tour guide and driver Jan took us around a little of the town en route (not too circuitously) and pointed out interesting Napier Art Deco elements along the way.
It was a beautiful day, and we got back to the ship in plenty of time for me to get ready for dinner and later meet up with Dede and/or her group for whatever after-dinner entertainments we might prefer.