Art Deco, Wine & Coastal Drives

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, October 12, 2011

We drive to the east coast now, the area is called Hawkes Bay and it is known for wine so you can guess why we're here. We stay in Napier, which is a nice little seaside town that was destroyed in 1931 by an earthquake and so all the buildings are art deco style as most were rebuilt in 1933. It's a nice place to spend some time as there are plenty cafes, shops and architecture to admire.  We sign up for a wine tour with Vince’s World of Wines as we couldn’t decide who would drive if we did the vineyards ourselves.  We visit four vineyards and our guide gives a general tour of the area.  The soil here is very good for wine as it used to flood and so this has left minerals in the soil that the vines like.  Unfortunately the weather isn’t always quite warm enough and so they use windmills and sometimes helicopters to circulate the air and stop a frost destroying the vines in winter.  We visit four vineyards – Ngatarawa, Church Road, Moana Park and Mission Estate where we get at least five tastings in each – a good day out then!

Next day we drive up along Hawkes Bay – stopping off for our coffee and cake in Wairoa where there is a newspaper article in the window naming good things about Wairoa, which echos the guide book.  Not sure why but this town hasn’t been popular in the past – seems like a standard town to us though.  We also stop at Morere Hot Springs – some more natural hot pools before heading on to Gisbourne.  Gisbourne seemed to be the same as every other New Zealand town.  They’re not particularly pretty, a main street of shops with covered walkways but the settings are usually what attract people.  Gisbourne is another seaside town.  We continue the next day up the coast and round the East Cape.  On this drive there are many pretty bays to see but not many people or shops or anything really so can feel a bit isolated.  As the weather wasn’t great for us we kept driving around the cape stopping briefly at Tokomaru Bay and Hicks Bay but we couldn’t see much due to the rain and so continued to Whanaru Bay for lunch as we managed to drive out the rain.  We don’t really take photos when it’s raining so don’t be fooled into thinking we always have perfect weather!  This stretch of the drive to Opotiki is pretty with lots of bays and the sun shining. 
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