Down Under: Around Hawke’s Bay


The sun came out, finally, and we were happy. This was the day for our photography tour with a professional photographer. At 8:00 am, Richard Brimer, the photographer, and Edward from Long Island Guides picked us up. We were expecting only Richard, but Edward did the driving and was more knowledgable about some of the local history even though Richard has lived here all his life. It was an absolutely delightful day!

We first went to Craggy Range Winery, not for the wine, but for the view and their cellar. There is a pond on the vineyard property and a lovely view of Te Mata Peak so we spent a good hour there taking shots of the mist on the peak, reflections of buildings, trees, and vines in the pond, and then going inside to see the cellar. This winery’s barrels have a dull red band and are lined up precisely on their sides. Richard manned the lighting of this space for us and then at one point waved around a heavy duty LED flashlight to create additional scattered light while we took photos. He had the C.P. using his tripod and taking shots with long shutter times. Quite an experience.

From there, we drove to Ocean Beach, a completely deserted somewhat wild beach, for photos of the water on the sand and the distant views. We also tramped into a field (private property) to get a look at a lonely camping caravan sitting desolate beyond the grass. We were a ways from Napier proper and so got a look at several small burgs and some lovely views as we went up and down the local hills. We stopped off at Bluff Hill Domain above a working port and saw logs being loaded onto ships bound for China as well as sheep going on another vessel. Back in Napier, we took advantage of the sunshine for some more photos of Marine Parade and a short walk before having lunch at Mister D’s.


Richard seems to know everyone and the owner of the restaurant, a woman, welcomed us and saw us to a table while reciting some of the day’s specials. Three of us ordered the fish in a bag which was delicious while Edward had the market fish which included potatoes and some pumpkin.

Our last stop of the day was The Urban Winery owned by winemaker Tony Bish. Their tasting room and cellar are in an original Art Deco building, National Tobacco Company, with some lovely pink details. Karen Bish greeted us and we first went into their cellar for photos of their oak barrels and this marvelously huge oak egg holding a great quantity of wine. We took picture after picture and then retired to the tasting area for samples of three Chardonnays and one Syrah. Their Chardonnays were the best I’ve had so far here! Edward and Richard returned us to our hotel just before 3:00, leaving us with hugs all around.


For dinner we returned to Three Doors Up where we had dined two nights ago. The same waitress greeted us and we settled into the same table. This time we tried the cheesy garlic bread and mixed olives followed by calamari for the Chief Penguin and the crumbed chicken pieces with basil pesto for me. He had a green salad and their fries and I the carrots and asparagus, vegetable of the day. When I first read the menu, I thought it said “crumbled” chicken, but it had panko bread crumbs on it and had been lightly fried. They treat scallops similarly—“crumbed.”  Another very satisfying meal.

All photos ©JWFarrington (some rights reserved).



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