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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Napier weekend

Last weekend, with a freezing storm whacking the South Island and much breezy hail in Wellington, we drove north to Napier. Where it was also freezing and wet, but there ya go.

Stopped off at the Pukaka Mt Bruce nature sanctuary on the way and walked around for about an hour. In the rain. It was nice to spend about another (dry) hour in the kiwi house, watching our only white kiwi and talking to a keeper, as the kiwi chased her mate around the logs.

Too dim in there for a good shot of a running kiwi, but have a totally still tuatara, another NZ forest floor icon. Just as rare too.

Napier is Art Deco city, largely rebuilt from the wreckage of a city-levelling earthquake in 1931. There are lots of lovely Art Deco commercial buildings in the city, and square flat roofed houses in the suburbs.

We stayed in a groovy motel with posh dressing gowns ooh aah, a monster spa at one end, and an ocean view at the other. We watched the storm sweep up from the south, and the waves got bigger and smashier, and our three little foreground fountains blew all over the place. The sea was calm when we got there, and a big swell developed over the weekend. (Down in Wellington it was a ten metre swell in Cook Strait - wo.)

Walked up to Napier's Bluff Hill lookout (cos Carol read the map wrong and thought that was the only way up, yes, yes, but we did get some great uphill exercise and a look at some Napier natural history and a collection of E. ficifolia seeds that will sprout into magnificent trees...). Maybe.

Bluff Hill overlooks the port of Napier and Hawkes Bay, and a port is always fun to watch. There were tugs! We like tugboats. It was pretty cold, but that's what the gear is for. 

Mish photographing some good specimens of the century plant  Agave americana on Bluff Hill.

Then, back down the hill and off to the grandly named National Aquarium, across the road from our motel. But, aah. Bit of a disappointment. We knew it was a small aquarium, but they have some big things in under size tanks and an amateur approach to running a 'national aquarium'.

Here's an exception, Mish in the penquin pool.
They were fun.

She's going in...

At the Hawkes Bay Museum, checked out the emotional story of the earthquake in videos, and some local Maori history.  I was taken with the paddle collection - and a long fishing canoe carved from one tree, discovered recently in a river bed.

Cafes got a good run, as they always do when we're on tour. Here's a section of an Art Deco ceiling in one; Mish writing a postcard in another.

On the drive home, we took a secondary route inland and went close to the Ruahine range, where the storm had dumped a nice bit of end of season snow. Picturesque over paddocks.

1 comment:

  1. Nice way to spend a weekend! Jude