We arrived in Napier, art deco capital of New Zealand, expecting to be transported to the 1930's. Being a fan of the Great Gatsby and an even bigger fan of Art Nouveaux, my expectations were set high.
In 1931, Napier experienced an earthquake that rated 7.9 on the Richter scale and it leveled the city. They decided to rebuild in the architectural style of the day: Art Deco. We found the city to be quaint and a little quiet so no need to turn on all those florescent lights that would have added some color to the town. The stained glass was impressive. It seemed every house, even the shanties were adorned with it.
I fell for this statue on the waterfront that absolutely deserves a name.
This area of New Zealand is called Hawkes Bay and it's known for producing very nice Sauvignon Blancs and Syrahs. We thought we should probably go sample some for ourselves. We visited New Zealand's oldest vineyard, The Mission Estate Winery, for a leisurely Sunday brunch.
We sat in the courtyard overlooking the vineyard and all the while I felt like I should be dressed as in a Monet or Cezanne painting. It felt a little odd to step out of our hippy van and into a refined lifestyle. One which we happily played along with for a few hours.
Near to Napier is a special place with an even more special name: Blow Hard Bush. A bush reserve with many beautiful species of NZ birds. It is also the home to some of the most unusual bouldering I've ever seen.
Down in the dark of the jungle are horizontal roofs with perfect hand sized tufas. The rck is dark, the tufas light. It is an artistic contrast that even a non climber could appreciate.
Sonic the Hedgehog (v6)
Napier was a full palette: architecture, ocean, art, wine, climbing, nature. It was definitely time to leave the north island and head south.
On our drive down to the ferry terminal city of Wellington, we had to make a few stops...
New Zealand has the best playgrounds in the world!
From the North island to the South Island
The four hour ferry ride was beautiful!