|Broke journey from Gisborne to Napier at Lake Tutira and walked around it – lovely spot ! Paradise Shelduck, the famous Kereru, Black Swans, NZ Kingfishers and a great feeling of space.
Napier is fascinating. It is difficult to imagine such a large expanse of lagoon becoming dry land in the space of 2 minutes as it did in the 1931 earthquake that destroyed the town ! Ships in harbour found themselves suddenly on dry land; one ship further out watched a long since shipwreck rise out of the water next to it before subsiding again just as quickly – the spooky bit ? the ships had the same name !
A lot of people died but the silver lining was that a population squashed into a small space on the island where Napier began, suddenly had a huge new hinterland to farm and build on – a developers dream !
Another positive aspect to these events was that it was decided to rebuild fast and cheap using art deco extensively; ever since new builds have been encouraged to be sympathetic to that style and the town has a real charm. Unfortunately we just missed the annual art deco weekend when everyone dresses up in 20’s/30’s style and there are loads of vintage cars and parties, but we did take a tour with a very well informed guide.
Next day and down to the serious business of a winetasting tour. It was great actually to simply chill in the sun in the morning for once, before being picked up by Odyssey Tours (thanks for the recommendation Ronnie and Ed !) and taken to 4 wineries ending with a gourmet platter at the last one. Syrahs and Bordeaux blends at the fore but some interesting oaked Chardonnays and SBs that avoided tasting oaky (no malalactic fermentation don’t you know !). Interesting Kiwi fact: average time from purchase to opening of wine in NZ is 1 hour 57 mins ! Unfortunate downer on the day was discovering the news anout the Christchurch earthquake – many of the people we have met since have had family, friends or businesses there but their reaction is remarkably calm; one young couple we met had moved out of CBD 4th floor apartment the week before and gone to a suburb before flying out to come wine tasting – their reaction was that their new home only had a hole in it where the fireplace had collapsed so that wasn’t too bad !
Last morning and just browsed the art galleries before heading off for Victorian Greytown where we stayed on a basic but very quiet and pleasant site.