New Zealand
Hawke's Bay

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  • Day28

    A Tasting we will go!

    December 11, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Got up to another overcast day today but we don’t let that stop us! We drove up to a lookout point called Bluff Hill with a great view over the other side of Napier - a town called Ahuriri - the log dry land sort and container port. There was a small cruise ship approaching shore while we were there. We then drove down to Perfume Point where there is a cool little lighthouse, then walked into the town of Ahuriri to have a quick look around. From there, we headed south to a town called Hastings - another place that suffered lots of damage from the 1931 earthquake and has been rebuilt. We walked around the town - saw Santa on his “sleigh” driving around, the Christmas decorations and some cool little stores on the Main Street - they actually still have K-Mart here, but forgot to get a pic! We grabbed some lunch then set off to find some of the famous Hawke’s Bay wineries!

    The first winery we stopped at was called Pask, and the lovely manager, Mel, was very informative and gave us some very nice wines to sample. We started talking to her about the Kelowna wineries we’ve visited, and it turned out she knew a friend of Jeff’s from Beaumont winery, who has been here and travels all over trying new wines and visiting wineries! Small world! I picked up a bottle of Chardonnay at Pask - looking forward to trying that! Our next stop was Te Awa winery which is on the Gimblett Gravels - this is an area where an earthquake diverted the river leaving behind gravel type soil, which creates perfect drainage for growing grapes. We each got to taste 6 different varieties of wine here (hic) - good thing they’re small samples! We crossed over half a block down the road to Trinity Hill Winery, also part of the Gimblett Gravels, and I have to say, some of the best wine we have tasted in the area! In all 3 places, I tried the whites and Dave the reds, and we both agreed at Trinity Hill, all of the samples we had were amazing! Dave bought a bottle of their Syrah, which he really enjoyed in the tasting. As I said, it’s a good thing the samples are small, as we had a 40 minute drive back to Napier after all these shenanigans!!

    We decided to go back over to Ahuriri for dinner to a place we’d found in a brochure called The Jandal, which looked to have some pretty good menu items. As you can see from the photo below, it’s a good thing we got there early..... ha ha!! When we first walked in, there wasn’t even a greeter, server or bartender, and we had to cough a few times before anyone realized we were there! Nevertheless, we had a pretty good dinner, and by the time we left, one other couple had arrived to eat - must be the weather, or maybe cos it’s only Tuesday here 🤷‍♀️. Back to our hotel now for a rest and to plan tomorrow’s adventures!
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  • Day27

    North to Napier

    December 10, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    We left Wellington at 8am this morning to head to Napier in the Hawke’s Bay Area of New Zealand’s North Island. We drove through rolling hills with lots of sheep and cattle and the views were stunning. Our first stop was about 2 hours out of Wellington at a place called Palmerston North. This is a beautiful town, home to Massey University, renowned for its agriculture research, as well as being recognized in Australia, the US, Canada and Britain for its veterinary medicine program. The town is centred around a beautiful square with thousands of flowers, lovely buildings, and a great shopping area. Even the ducks like it here - we saw Mama and her babies taking a stroll through the square! We stopped for a photo opp at a town called Dannevirke, which was founded in the late 1800’s by Danish, Norwegian and Swedish settlers.

    We continued on through farmland - lots of corn and squash, and eventually vineyards, before arriving in Napier around 1pm. We stocked up on a few groceries, checked into our hotel then went to explore the town. In 1931, Napier and nearby Hastings were hit with a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that destroyed the downtown areas, killed 256 people and injured thousands. Napier came back from the earthquake with a clean slate and fresh land to build on. One hundred and eleven new buildings were constructed in the downtown area between 1931 and 1933. The vast majority took their cues from Art Deco, the era’s cutting-edge architectural trend which today gives the town its quirky, fun vibe. Every February, there is an Art Deco Festival in Napier, and many stores sell vintage clothes from the Great Gatsby era so that locals and visitors can participate in the festivities! There is a lovely waterfront flower garden, a pavilion used for shows during the summer months, and a black sand/gravel beach - so unlike the beaches we’ve seen along the New Zealand coastline so far! After a long walk and a bite to eat, we came back the hotel to do some research on the famous Hawke’s Bay Wineries we plan to visit tomorrow!
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  • Day74

    Back to Napier

    September 13, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    A lovely place with nice people. I am really happy that I got the chance to come back to this place.
    In addition I stay in Kiwi Backpackers, another hostel than one one week before. I like this hostel very much and I find a job there.

  • Day72

    Napier-Marine Parade & National Aquarium

    February 20 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    The Napier area has been settled since around the 12th century. James Cook visited the area in 1769. In the 1830’s, whalers established a trading post. In 1931, the city was levelled by a 7.9 earthquake. 258 people died and the town was now 40 square km larger, as the earthquake heaved sections of what was once a lagoon, 2 m above sea level. The city was rebuilt and ended up being the most uniformly art-deco cities in the world.

    We drove into town, thinking that we would just stroll on the lovely seaside avenue but the start of an Art Deco Festival was in progress so we saw more than just the seaside.

    Marine Parade is an elegant promenade. Standing on the walkway, we could see the turquoise Pacific Ocean in front of us, and in the distance we could see the dramatic curve of Cape Kidnappers on one side and the high Bluff Hill on the other side. Behind us, there was a “treasure trove of architectural delights”, all painted in soft, pastel tones.

    You can walk or cycle about 3 km on the promenade. There are lovely sunken gardens with lots of places to sit and read. The I-site (information) is located here as well as a free mini-golf course, a skate-park, a swim centre and a bandshell. Huge Norfolk Island pines line the avenue. It is very attractive.

    We walked down the road to the National Aquarium of New Zealand and did a little tour of this modern stingray-shaped building. It's home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world.

    We especially the 1.5 million litre Oceanarium which showcased the fish that exist in Hawke Bay, including shark, stingray and other reef fish. We stood on a moving ramp and entered a underwater viewing tunnel with fish all around us.
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  • Day72

    Napier’s Art Deco Festival

    February 20 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    During the third week of February (this week), Napier hosts an Art Deco Festival and here we are. It’s mission is to “preserve, restore,celebrate and promote Napier’s Art Deco heritage”.

    The first festival was held 32 years ago and since then it has grown significantly. I think that there are around 300 events this year, some that cost and others that are free - dinners, dances, picnics, balls, bands, Gatsy-esque fancy dress. Children and adults get all dressed up in vintage clothes from the 1920s to 1930s and have a not too serious celebration of things Art Deco. Phil Crosby ( Bing Crosby’s grandson) will be presenting his Golden Age of Hollywood show on Friday night. They expect about 40,000 people to attend.

    When we walked around the town on Thursday, we saw lots of evidence of things to come.Jazz music was being played in the bandshell, beautiful Model Ts were scooting around, people dressed as flappers and bootleggers, zoot suits and more. What a lot of fun.

    The weekend is the big event so we hope to see a parade of vintage cars or dogs, see the airshow with old planes, as well as to listen to the Marine Band.

    So today’s photos, on Thursday, are a only a teaser for Friday’s collection.
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  • Day73

    A Bird Walk, Honey and Wine Tasting

    February 21 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Today is our littlest grandson’s birthday in Canada. Of course, we are one day later here. Nathan turned three today and is so excited for his birthday party tomorrow. He is a sweetie and we miss him...

    The weather here is warm, 32C, during the day. Rain is needed badly and farmers are worried about their crops and cattle. All the hills here are yellow and dry.

    Today is Friday and we are meeting up with Donna again. She is staying on the north side of Napier and we are in the south, in Taradale.

    Our hostess suggested that we visit the Pekapeka Wetlands for a pleasant walk. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council with community support have restored this area which is 10 minutes south of Hastings and it is lovely. Btw, Hastings and Napier are twin cities and are next door to each other. Taradale, where we are, is in a rural area Inbetween the two..

    Pekapeka swamp is all that is left of what was once a much larger wetland complex. Tree roots have been found beneath the peat that suggests the wetland was once forested – more than 10,000 years ago.

    Pekapeka is thought to be named after the bats that inhabited nearby caves as pekapeka is Māori for 'bat'.

    The three of us took a walk on the network of boardwalks and pathways through historical hunting and fishing grounds for the local Maori. Apparently three villages or Maori forts were here at one time. They used to fish for eels and we saw several in the water.

    We took our binoculars so were able to see lots of birds - Black Shags (cormorants), Little Shags, Black Swans, Blue Ducks, Pied Shag, Welcome Swallows, Australian Coots and a lot of birds that we don’t know the names of. We met some birders who helped us out with identifications.

    For a long time, wetlands were not valued for the important systems that they are. For many years Pekapeka was used as an illegal dump and, among other rubbish, the remains of two demolished hotels are here. Some of the rubble and reinforcing rods were left after the cleanup as a stark reminder of how badly this ecosystem was treated in the past.

    After a pleasant walk on the boardwalks through the wetlands, we drove our cars to the Arataki Honey Centre in Hastings.

    Arataki Honey is the number one beekeeping business in the Southern Hemisphere, with 20,000 hives across New Zealand.

    The centre has been set up so that visitors can learn interesting facts about honey bees, how they live, their role in the food chain and the products they produce. The centre has some large windows where we could observe hives.

    At the end of our visit we were able to taste the 10 distinct and delicious varieties of Arataki Honey, gathered from New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna. That was a sweet experience.

    The souvenir shop was stocked with all things to do with bees and honey. It was fun looking through the items.

    Lunch was on our minds and we decided that since we were in grape growing and wine country, we would have lunch and a wine tasting at Oak Estate Cellar Door and Kitchen.

    We sat outside in a vineyard and enjoyed sharing a delicious platter, all homemade, and accompanied by a generous side basket of homemade bread. We sampled beautiful pate, smoked chicken, fish pate, pork terrine, burnt butter - all with accompaniments.

    The wine samplings were all good but our favourite one was the Pinot Gris.

    “Grapes were selected from 2 vineyards in the Maraekakaho area. Gentle floral appeal on the nose, flowing into flavours of tropical fruits and citrus notes, with a rich texture and mouth feel, finishing with a crisp clean dry finish. Residual sugar: 5g/L”
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  • Day73

    Memorial Flying Displays

    February 21 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    The Art Deco Festival continues but we really don’t want to be part of the huge crowds that are visiting the town. We found it hard to find parking there on Thursday when things were starting up. And we got a parking ticket. Today, with the big opening and the 20,000 anticipated visitors it will be a challenge.

    We did want to see the Airshow though, so we went and parked close to the Aquarium. The whole seaside was packed with new and old cars and campervans! But it was civil...

    We have a small car and snuck it in beside a bigger car. Perfect. A 20 second walk to the viewing area. Haha.

    We spread my sarong on the grass and sat down with hundreds of picnickers dressed in 1920’s clothing to wait for the show. And what a show it was!

    The old war planes could be heard before we could see them and what a wonderful display of flying skills! You had to be there though. The photos don’t do it justice.
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  • Day47

    Blubb blubb

    October 14, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    Frauchen... von allen Tieren im Aquarium hast du nur Pinguine fotografiert. Was ist mit den Kiwis? Ach, da war es zu dunkel, verstehe. Aber hast recht, die Pingus sind auch süß. - Aegon

  • Jan16

    Napier

    January 16 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Napier is a beautiful city!
    Because we liked it so much we decided to stay for two nights. On the first night we met Mick and Ondy who invited us to teir RV for some homebrew wine and ale.
    The pictures are from the beach at our camping spot, the sunken gardens, the art deco style inner city and the Centennial Gardens.Read more

  • Day61

    Pekapeka Wetlands

    January 30 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    I woke up from the rain dropping on my car 😬

    But I must say, the tape is definitely helping and I could not see any water coming in 💪🏼
    Ok, it was not raining soo much but I am happy anyway.
    The weather forecast ist not to bad either, it should stop around early lunchtime.

    So I had a good breakfast, of coarse my new friend the cat was around again 😉🥰
    Cut little one and so in love with everyone that spends some time with her.

    I then drove into the town to buy some more tape, better I have some around when I need it!
    I also need my shopping and then left Carterton to drive to Hastings.

    As it was still raining I didn’t stop in the beginning.
    And so I was actually already almost in Hastings when I stopped for the first time.
    The Pekapeka Wetlands was a nice little stop beside the roads.
    I took a short walk here and then went actually straight to Te Awanga where I will spend the night.
    It got pretty hot during the day and it’s over 30 degrees now, so I was just not feeling for more adventures.
    I found an old but nice little campground here and as the owner could not change my 50$ note I got it even cheaper than the normal price.
    So I paid 10$ instead of 15$. Sometimes you need to be lucky 😉

    I got a spot right beside the beach and spend the rest of the day planning the next days.
    Here are living a lot of cats and dogs so I got a lot of animals around me to pet what I really enjoyed!
    I miss Snoopy really much and I am happy when I can borrow some other dogs for a little while.

    When I came back from dinner I saw this amazing sunset over the ocean, so I just left my stuff in the car and went to the beach.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Hawke's Bay, Heretaunga

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