Around Masterton

Trip Start Mar 06, 2013
Trip End Apr 04, 2013

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What I did
Martinborough, New Zealand
Castle Point

Flag of New Zealand  , Wellington,
Sunday, March 17, 2013

Today was a relaxing day for us. We had a splendid evening last night with Lucy and Simon in Masterton and then slept in to the sound of light rain. Lucy not only made us a fabulous dinner but then cooked us a restaurant-quality breakfast of poached eggs on fresh bread (or special ed crackers) with a salad of fresh corn, avocado, parsley and fennel infused olive oil. Totally delicious.

Lucy also provided us with ideas for what we should do today. First we drove out to Castle Point on the east coast just north from Masterton. In the hour-long, 30 mile drive out there we counted passing 5 cars on the road. The small roads here are not very busy.

The tiny town of was pretty much empty since the season is really over but a few brave souls were trying to surf in the bay. We walked around the rock outcropping that at one end holds a lighthouse and along its length is dotted with people fishing down the cliffs on the ocean side. We were all at imminent peril as we are warned that rogue waves are common and there is a memorial to those who have lost their lives at that place. For those not fishing, the real interest, beside the view, is the rock. It is very 'immature' rock of soft sandstone liberally embedded with sea shells. Numerous textures and colors are to be found from soft rolling folds to chunks that are pitted like swiss cheese or very rough craggy pieces that look like broken sea foam.

The climb up to the light house was lovely and from there we could see the ragged bits of Sandra (formlery tropical cyclone Sandra) that were breaking over the big ridge we flew over yesterday. Rain and mountain obscuration along the ridge and down around the Wellington area were consistent throughout the day. The big valley where Masterton lies and out to the coast at Castlepoint remained largely clear with only a few sprinkles.

When we grew tired of the view we headed back to Masterton to briefly check in with the Safari crew. There was nothing we could do with them at this point since our crew is incomplete so we decided to check in to our Safari hotel. It is quite the posh place, with quite the posh price as well. Access to the internets is not included except via the hotel's kiosks.

Following Lucy's recommendations for dinner we drove south to a little wine town of Martinborough. Another charming, Victorian-era town that is now gone fully to tourist trade. Two burgers, a glass of wine and a beer: $78. Even with the exchange rate that is a pretty pricey dinner. On the up side they had a special ed bun for me and they were pretty great burgers.

Passing lots of sheep fields on the way back to Masterton, Doedo found out that he can sheep whistle. Stopping for a scenic sunset picture, there was a large herd of sheep. A mild whistle would get them to face the camera but they lost interest fast. After a couple of pictures he hit the right note.  A hundred sheep started running away and going for the edge of the field. That particular whistle must have been some poor aproximation in Dutch-American accented dog whistling for them to round  up and go for the gate. He should have  switched to video. Once  a couple were running, true to form, they all did.

Tomorrow is forecast to bring real rain to this area. Our day will start with a run down to Wellington to collect Jon, our 3rd Safari crew member. For now I'm off to the pool and then for an early bedtime.
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