16-18 April Melbourne-Wellington-Napier-Taradale

16 Apr 2014 Had dinner with Craig, Gilda and Pat at Siam Kitchen. Craig drove me to Park Hyatt at Melbourne airport to stay before going to NZ the next day. It is a lovely hotel. So convenient to the airport. I actually slept until a family in a nearby room woke me up!

17 Apr 2014 Got a wake-up call at 6am. Had also set the alarm in the room and my mobile phone so they all went off at once. Walked across the walkway to check in with Air NZ. They are different to the other airlines. You scan you passport at a kiosk and then it spits out a baggage tag and boarding pass. Pop your bag on the conveyor belt and you’re free to go through customs. It was really quick. Unfortunately the plane was 3/4 hour late taking off so I only just made the flight from Wellington to Napier. The weather was bad and many flights were cancelled in Wellington. Thankfully mine wasn’t one of them. There is a tropical storm going through but it should clear by the weekend (fingers crossed). Jenny from the tour company picked me up from the airport. She didn’t know what flight I was on so she had met the previous 6 flights just in case! I was glad to see a friendly face. We got to the Crown Hotel and I had an hour to recover before dinner at the Milk and Honey restaurant next to the hotel. Tagliatelle with mushrooms, bacon – it was delicious as was the salt and chocolate tart washed down with a sauv blanc (what else?). Will need to do some serious bike riding over the weekend. I also met Anna, who is guiding us, and Barry and Di who are the only other riders beside me! Off to bed around 9pm. Let’s hope the weather improves tomorrow.

18 Apr 2014 Our prayers were answered because the rain had eased by the morning. It was still a bit windy but some blue sky was starting to show. Breakfast at Milk and Honey with Di and Barry. Great food. Off to Takaro Trails office to pick up our bikes with Jenny and Anna. Off along the foreshore and past many sights on our 50km ride to Taradale, which is really only around the corner from where we started! At the Colonial Lodge Motel for the night. I made use of the spa. Glad I brought my bathers. Off for Thai food for dinner tonight.

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