Check out the photos from our time in Napier here: NZ Napier 2010
Day two saw us waking up to the most beautiful sunrise that many of us had ever seen; we also had the privilege of being some of the first people in the entire world to see the sunrise on 7 June. The black pebble beach at Napier was fabulous so we took our hot tea out to enjoy the sunrise. There is something special about waking up on the beach and watching the sunrise; we all really enjoyed that experience. Knape even went for a morning run to enjoy the awesome, sunny New Zealand weather we were experiencing!
We had breakfast at a really great coffee/breakfast at Cafe DMP, where the barrista had won “Hawkes Bay Best Female Barrista” two years in a row. We took a photo with her (the coffee was truly excellent) and off we went to explore the Art Deco capital of New Zealand! Of course, before we left to explore I asked if the cafe had wifi. The reply from the manager? “What is wifi? Does that have something to do with computers?” With that reply, we were off!
We started our tour by visiting the Art Deco Trust, the organization responsible for preserving and promoting the Art Deco architectural heritage of the city. Even I have to admit how impressive the architecture of the city was. There’s an excellent mix of 1930s Art Deco architecture with form and function that all came together to create a perfect little seaside town (with incredible wine and views). After a mountain hike through Tiffen Park (which put us a little off the beaten path) we finished up all the building viewings — about 100 in total — and walked along the beach to our hotel.
We decided to spend our afternoon going to a lookout point , Te Mata Peak, for a look over Hawke’s Bay. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw and experienced! We drove through some beautiful neighborhoods and countryside on our way to a mountain peak passing wineries and sheep along the way (sheep seem to be a recurring theme of our trip!). When we arrived to the lookout mountain we decided to drive up to get the point; this proved to be rather dangerous but very much worth the effort! After a 15 minute drive up a very steep, very curvy, and very skinny mountain road (while driving on the opposite side mind you) we were rewarded with a truly impressive view of the entire bay along with the wineries, sheep, mountains and more. When you think of New Zealand this is truly the views that you picture. We stopped to take many photos and to lay in the grass and enjoy the moment. Let’s be honest; you do not get the chance many times in life to enjoy such natural beauty, so we took it all in! We took a walk down a trail, and after seeing a car that had run off the side of the mountain we decided to follow some other cars back down the road and took it nice and slow.
Once at the bottom we went to Craggy Range Winery, which sits at the bottom of Te Mata peak. Again we were rewarded with something special. Once a year they open up their flagship wines for tasting, and it is only on Queen’s Day. Well, it just so happened that Monday was Queen’s Day, so we got to taste and sip on their premium wines (which were superb) while relishing the experiences from the top of the peak. The wines were so good that we ended up buying 3 bottles to bring back home to add to the others we had bought the day before on the wine tour.
For dinner we took a drive out along the Marine Parade and went to a restaurant called Shed 2 at the wharf. Since we were in New Zealand and they are known for great fish we all had beer battered fish and chips (yep, even me… in a non-vegan moment). The fish was very fresh and yummy and the beer was also excellent. We sat by a fireplace that was in the middle of the restaurant that kept us nice and toasty warm while we enjoyed dinner. Following dinner we headed back to the motel and watched some local NZ shows while settling in for the evening.