Art Deco NapierAugust 11, 2015 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌬 10 °C
We got up at our usual time and were ready to head out about 8.15 and went to the main road to catch a bus into town. It came quite quickly and we set off looking for a place to have breakfast. Walking towards the sea we hit Marine Parade the sea front road and saw a cafe sign so went in - the Siz Sisters Cafe (turns out eh Six Sisters is a famous Napier landmark of six brightly coloured identically designed wooden building on the sea front and the cafe is in one of them). Breakfast was good 0 bacon and egg bagels and sausage rolls.
We headed to the i site to get a map of Napier and see whether we should add anything to our to do list for the day. As the weather was sunny we started with the mini golf, right next door tot he isite. It was a good little course with some quite challenging sloping greens. Ed got i his usual mood about things being unfair and everyone else being so lucky - I told him about the famous Gary Player quote about the more I practise the luckier I get. I won this time, highlight being a hole in one on the sloping green on one hole where I read the slope (and surprised myself!). After this we headed to Opossum World, essentially a shop selling possum fur related stuff but with an area at the back showing how possums breed and how they are pests and some of the ways they meet untimely deaths on roads etc. Tash got a merino wool and possum blanket as part of her birthday present.
Ed hadn't eaten much of his breakfast so was now hungry. We saw a McD's sign and headed for it but consulting a map showed it was quite a way away so we went into a local bakery/ cafe and had pies and cakes. Then we walked along Marine Parade to the National Aquarium. This had some good displays of fish, alligators, turtles etc and I got some creepy shots of a giant fresh water prawn staring down the camera. We arrived at a good time as having looked round the first exhibits we arrived at Penguin Cove about 15 minutes before feeding time, so waited for this. As well as fish, they had a Tuatara area, but they were well tucked away in their burrows as we expected given the cold weather. They alos had a kiwi area, which was lit more brightly than many we had visited and a brown kiwi darted around in their funny way. In Penguin Cove they had a colony of about a dozen Little (or Fairy or Blue) penguins, all rescue birds with various injuries. There was also an injured seagull living there that had only one wing. Feeding was funny, the keeper made sure he fed each penguin there share, which meant he had to distract some of the greedier ones and even move them away.
We then headed for the main tank area, which had sharks, groupers, blue cod and sting rays amongst others in it. The tunnel through the tank was longer than most aquaria and had a moving walkway along it, presumably to keep crowds moving when there are more people there. We went through the tunnel a couple of times and then got off the belt in the middle and waited for the diver to enter the tank to hand feed the fish. This was a funny display - the rays behaved almost like dogs and seemed to respond to the keeper - they moved away when he pointed and then came back to take food he was holding in his mouth. HE also tickled them on their chin! The big sharks didn't seem hungry, though he did pull one over to feed. The guy pretended to take a mobile phone call half way through and feigned relief when the feeding was over, with big waves to the crowd.
We headed for the cafe and shop then and acquired cuddly Dusky and Hectors dolphin! Leaving the aquarium we headed for the park the kids had seen on the way there. This had loads of equipment to play on, far better than parks in the UK and the kids enjoyed it. A rain shower came across so we left as the equipment was wet and headed back into town to the Art Deco Centre. They showed us a film of how Napier had been destroyed by and earthquake in February 1931 and subsequently rebuilt in the next few years in the style of the day - Art Deco. This was unique worldwide as most areas weren't building much due to the worldwide depression. The quake had raised the level of the land about 6 feet and turned a large area covered by water and used as a boating lagoon into land with the water draining into the ocean. The Art Deco buildings managed to survive the 60s demolition balls thanks to the creation of the Art Deco Trust. We had a good chat with the ladies manning the shop who, like everyone we had talked to in Napier apologised for how cold it was - we in turn continued to express how we didn't think it was old given it was winter, the sun was out and there wasn't much wind. They also gave us some tips of places to eat in Taupo.
Ed was starving again and we couldn't face cooking in the campsite kitchens as it was so ill equipped, so we went to Subway and then caught the bus back to the park. The kids went on the trampolines for twenty minutes or so until it got too dark, then came back and we watched a bit of TV and another dvd of a modern day Cinderella story.Read more