Another beautiful day, another hike up a mountain

What else is new? The temperature outside was already mid-twenties when we woke up at 8am. Sue did another load of laundry and we had breakfast. We sat under the big ceiling fan and read the internet news on our devices until lunch. And we looked at ‘activity options’ for today. How about we drive down to Havelock North and climb up to Te Mata Peak, from where (Graeme and Robyn tell us) we can see the WHOLE Hawke’s Bay valley. Sure.

By lunch the temperature was 34 degrees. Sue’s iPad said it would stay around that until evening. Might as well go now. We drove south for 30kms to Hastings North. Then headed for the park entrance where there was a small car park. Sue put on her hiking boots and got her hiking pole out of the trunk. And off we were.

There were 5 marked trails for us to choose from, with varying degrees of difficulty. We picked the Rongokako Trail (marked with blue markers). It was supposed to be a 5.5km ‘goat trail’ with some ‘steep’ sections that would take us right up to the peak summit, then wind down until it passed through some Big Redwoods (ah, shade!) and back to the car park. (I say ‘supposed to’ — with a few wrong turns near the end we changed it to an 8km trek!)

A panorama of the Hawke’s Bay valley from the top of Te Mata Peak.

After the hike we deserved a cool treat. So we drove down through Havelock North and on to Hastings. Graeme and Robyn had told us about a famous ice cream shop on the main street in Hastings. Not to be missed. We found Rush Munro’s, New Zealand’s oldest ice cream shop, and parked the car. We each ordered a single scoop of the Hokey Pokey flavoured ice cream. (Hokey Pokey is vanilla ice cream with small, solid lumps of honeycomb toffee; it was on our list of typical New Zealand foods that we ‘must’ try). Not bad! The place kind of reminded us of the Bridge Drive-in in Winnipeg — long line-ups of customers, and hard-working young people doing their best to build big beautiful ice cream dishes.

We were hot and thirsty and our feet were tired. Sue found a new little blister on her foot. My big bandaid on my blister wasn’t really doing its job anymore either. We headed home for G&Ts and showers. A bit of reading and looking at our photos and then it was out for dinner.

We went to the Frying Dutchman just down the street and picked up fish ‘n chips. We took them home and ate outside on our patio. It was 7:00 and the evening air was finally cooling things down a bit. Lovely. By 8:30 we were closing our big patio doors and settling in for another evening of “The Crown” on Netflix.