In search of sun for our solar we drove through torrential rain rolling into some watery sunshine in the Hawkes Bay. Having first explored the option of a freedom park, that we then decided was a little less than desirable, we settled on paying a few dollars to park at a park over property (pop) near Clive where we stayed for 3 nights. The following day we ticky toured around Napier enjoying the art deco sites. It was then onto the Aquarium where we scored ourselves the deal of the month – an educational entry fee instead of the tourist fee, a saving of $46. Stoked! The kids had a ball given their strong interest in marine life and could have happily spent the rest of the day there! We then checked out the whole-food kitchen café, yum, then went and ate our ‘Nice creams’ at the bike park (have you discovered these yet? Delicious ice-cream made from coconut milk therefore dairy free, found at whole-food stores and New World, yum yum yum! ). This park is yet another sterling effort on the behalf of the Hawkes Bay council. It is set up to be exactly like a real life road situation complete with fully functioning traffic lights and road signs. It is fully fenced and it even had a separate fenced area for toddlers. The operative is to be able to teach children bike safety. Very, very cool by our standards. So yet another learning situation in an already action packed learning day.
The following day, needing an outlet for some toddler energy, Mr 2 yrs and I visited South City Playcentre in Hastings where we were warmly welcomed. Mr 2 yrs had a fabulous time and big shouts out to these guys for their fantastic hospitality. There were visits from lambs and puppies and the sun shone brightly as he doused himself in water from the hose and frolicked gleefully in the sandpit. I am never ceased to be grateful for this awesome organisation that exists uniquely to our country. Playcentre has so many virtues and I am so glad we have had the privilege of spending many hours enjoying it. It is great to know that at any time we can all rock up to a centre around the country and we’ll be welcomed.
We then happened upon a beachfront freedom camping spot in Haumoana following a trip out to a farmyard with the kids. This farmyard had a real live five legged sheep – I kid you not, just when you think you have seen it all aye!
We moved out to the beachside spot and let our souls be recharged with the sounds of crashing waves topped off by beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Unfortunately we couldn’t say the same about the recharging of the power system. During the middle of making dinner the whole 12 V system went bung. Gah frantic searching for torches, candles and such likes in the pitch black. Cereal for tea that night! That was tipping point. We had fried one inverter and the other was malfunctioning. We had been holding out from buying an inverter charger until we had sold the house because they cost the earth but that final straw was enough to bring the purchase forward. The order was made and the purchase delivered but this meant a trip to the Electricians was required. Oh and did I mention - an entirely new electrical system for me to grapple with. By now you all know just how good I am at those! Poor, poor Hamish. Oh and while on the subject of electrical systems it seems appropriate to mention the little drone flying experience that could have, and oh so nearly did, go so terribly wrong. Hamish cranked out the drone and took it flying out over the sea at which point, the batteries must have failed in the remote and the drone began flying autopilot….up, up, up, and no, no, not away, not quite. It actually flew back toward base as is programmed to do but fully by itself. It looped twice lowering with each loop and then on the final loop zoomed over the bus roof missing it by mm’s at which point Hamish frantically (he would say tactfully) grabbed it. Whewf. As a bystander to it all, it was rather humorous to watch. The best part is the footage it caught – couldn’t have done a better job flying it!
The next day we spent our final hour’s at the beach stone throwing and cruising whilst Hamish got us a somewhat working system. Being Farmers Market enthusiasts we visited the Hawkes Bay Farmers Market as I had heard it was one of the best in our country. I was loving it. Massive amounts of incredible produce, and artisan products. Yum, yum and YUM!
Additional to our electrical woes by this stage our bus had taken on board what we fondly referred to as ‘our resident chicken’. It was in fact a very loud chirping sound in the motor, a very loud, annoying, chirping sound. So now a trip to the electrician and the mechanic was in order.
We pulled up at a new contacts, the McMurray's home in the country out the back of Napier expecting to stay one night. The next day we took the bus in to get the new inverter installed and to the mechanics to get the chicken ousted which took up most of the day. Invited to stay another night, we then headed back to our park up at the McMurray's home. Thinking we should give the new system a chance to prove it was going to work we ended up staying with these guys for a week. Despite work place rumours that these 'dirty smelly hippies' (tongue in cheek) were never going to move on we managed to haul ourselves onwards and upwards having had a very fun time with these guys sharing business ideas, playing pool, chatting and sharing a glass of wine or 2 or 3 or oh really, whose counting!
With a stable electrical system (we now have a system that charges after about 2 hrs when plugged in whahoooo!!) and thinking the chirping was better we moved on (unfortunately the chicken had chicks on the way and they chirped all the way to Mahia). We had planned a stop at Lake Tutira but overshot the turn-off and there was just no going back. So we asked the kids to settle in for the long haul and tripped our way over to the peninsula of Mahia.
Part 3 – Mahia and East Cape coming soon.