Usually, Hastings has the sort of weather to envy. Long hot summers, just right for all those orchards full of fruit trees which the region is famous for. One of the workers was busy up on a cherry picker as he moved along the row of trees thinning the apple crop.
Hard at work in the orchard
It started out great – we arrived in full sunshine, and were joined the next day by caravan buddies Don and Pamela, who parked along side us. We recognised the caravan when they arrived, but didn’t they have a green car? Not any more, they arrived with a shiny red Mazda.
All parked in a row
The nice weather continued and I took full advantage of the on site washing machine. The camp cat Ollie decided he really needed a nice roll around on the grass beside my bucket of washing, as I prepared to hang it out to dry.
Ollie the cat having a good roll on the ground
Yesterday was showery, then sunny, then showery again. Happy Hour moved from outside in the sunshine, to inside, and of course the sun came out again. The weather was trying to fool us, and as Robin was pre-heating the BBQ, thunder boomed overhead and the torrential rain came down. We had to call on Don to help us move the hot BBQ out of the rain and safely under cover of our awning. Robin and Don picked up each side of the table, and I had hold of the gas bottle, and we slowly shuffled under cover. The photo doesn’t really show just how heavy the rain was, but you can see a steady stream coming off end of the awning. The ground was sodden, with big puddles everywhere.
Cooking under cover
The rain continued overnight and today we have rather grey skies and a chill in the air. The rain had finally ceased, but that didn’t stop us from doing a little exploring after an early lunch. Driving through the trendy town of Havelock North we stopped the car to check out a steam engine – it’s not often you see one of these in the middle of town. This dark green beauty was puffing smoke from the chimney, and was getting hooked up to a wagon. The brass plate on front read “Ransomes Sims & Jefferies Ltd, Ipswich”, a major British agricultural machinery maker. The company was founded in 1789 by Robert Ransome.
Steam Engine in Havelock North
Our plan for the afternoon was to visit two settlements on the coast, Ocean Beach and Waimarama, as we had been to neither before. We continued up the hill, and there before us was the small settlement of Ocean Beach. From the approach, it certainly looked pretty, but the wind was fierce and cold.
Down the hill to Ocean Beach
There was a sign prominently displayed advising that the beach was closed to swimmers due to dangerous conditions. We had a quick look around but the blustery conditions made it very chilly.
So we retraced our steps back over the hill, and followed the road to the other beach settlement we wanted to visit, Waimarama. Once again the beach was cold, windswept and deserted. No camping signs were also displayed here, although there was a commercial motor camp close by. These two beaches are sure to be much nicer on a warm sunny day.
Waimarama was much larger than we anticipated, a mixture of older homes and quite a number of rather expensive looking residences built right on the coast. We drove through the large expansive Domain, extensively planted with trees, and strangely, also containing large areas of swampy ground densely covered in reeds.
With our curiosity satisfied back we went, up hill and down dale once more. We presume that the dramatic hills we approached on our trip back to Havelock North are the other side of Te Mata Peak. But we could well be wrong – any ideas?
It is always fun travelling new roads, and going to places not previously explored. We are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country.