Trip Start Jan 13, 2010
26Trip End Mar 10, 2010
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Where I stayed
Getting there however was something else. We left Picton on the 1:15 pm ferry which left late and arrived in Wellington after 5pm just in time for rush hour. The trip across was just like the previous one - cold and grey. We did not even bother going on deck but sat huddled in our fleeces for the duration of the trip.
The sun came out as we drove up the Hutt Valley but it was misleading. Did I mention that NZ is hilly? As we rose out of the valley it began to rain, we experienced everything from Scotch mist to thick fog as we drove over the Tararua Mountains. Again hairpin bends, this time in fog, steep drop offs, often with no guard rail
As a result it was after 9 pm when we reached our Napier motel.
Rising the next morning in brilliant sunshine, it was noticeably warmer than it had been since leaving Queenstown. Napier is a summer destination for Kiwis, and as we explored the town, we could see why. It is delightfully situated on Hawkes Bay, protected from the southerly winds by the hills behind. As most of the downtown was destroyed in an earthquake in 1931, the town was rapidly rebuilt in Art Deco style. There are many survivors of that era that are now preserved, and, of course, have now become a significant tourist attraction. The Art Deco Trust is housed in what was the fire station but is now a beautifully decorated example of Art Deco. The Trust jealously preserves the buildings from demolition and raises funds for their preservation.
We were so relaxed that the girls decided to have their hair cut in, what turned out to be, a Maori hairdressers. Considering they only paid the equivalent of $11 (7 pounds Sterling) nobody recoiled when they ventured forth.
Strolling the streets in the warmth, taking photos galore of the gloriously decorated buildings, was very pleasant. We sat outside and ate our lunch at one of many excellent cafes.
No sooner had we resumed our peregrinations than the heavens opened and it poured with rain. It continued for most of the afternoon unfortunately. We drove out to see a Maori Pa, a hill top fort. It had commanding views over the bay area but as it was raining we stayed only briefly. The 'mad' English woman went striding off in the rain to the top of the hill, while the two 'sane' Americans stayed in the car.