The North Island to Waipukurau and Napier

Trip Start Nov 16, 2005
Trip End Apr 11, 2006

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Where I stayed

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Monday, February 13, 2006

Mon 13th Feb......

Last night when we got off the ferry we drove to Moana Lodge (our BBH for the night) in a place called Plimmerton - this is on the west coast 20 mins. north of Wellington - it has a 94% satisfaction rate in the book and has a beautiful beachfront location It was the most luxurious place we stayed in and was immaculately kept. The only downside was that our room was opposite the toilets/showers and was a bit noisy because of this. The owner was the most knowledgeable and helpful of all our stays - she booked us ahead for the next night and recommended places to stay - a great help.

Wellington is the political, cultural and commercial capital of NZ - like Canberra is to Aus. On Monday morning we left to go back to Wellington to see the city. TIt is a port, which has both sea and mountain views - with a beuatiful harbour - very impressive - many of the cruise ships dock here. The biggest attraction in Welligton is the state-of-the-art Te Papa Museum - it is the National Museum of Art, History and Maori Culture - you could spend a whole day here but we did not have that amount of time to spare. After coffee in the business district, we went up Mount Victoria (196 m high) to the peak - a marvellous look-out point where we got an opportunity to take great pictures - luckily, Catherine drove up to the peak as it is quite scary - a very winding steep road - the girl did good! We could have taken a cable car ride up but that would be too easy. As in most of the big cities, there is a Botanical garden, museums, cultural centre, and beautiful churches. Katherine Mansfield, the author, was also born here and her cottage is open to the public. There is also a beautiful harbour where you can take cruises - we did not as we had to get going north.

We finally left Wellington - need to come back here again as it is worth another visit. We continued on to Martinborough - another wine area - a very pretty town - via the Hutt Valley. This area is well-known for its market gardens and farming. The Martinborough Hotel is very elegant and is owned by the Peppers Resort Group - all the rooms have been individually designed and restored to a very high standard - pricey! There are about 30 small wineries locally in this rather upmarket area. We did not indulge in the wines as we are saving ourselves for Hawkes Bay and Gisborne! We carried on through Masterton and Mt. Bruce. Masterton is famouns for the Golden Shears International Competition - sheep shearing - unluckily for us I does not take place until 4th March so we could not enter - what a shame - I am sure we could have got a gold medal! Near there is Mt. Bruce National Wildlife Centre - a sanctuary for NZ birds including the kiwi. We stayed on a sheep farm that night - very peaceful except for the sheep! Catherine was having a rest after the driving so I went to see the longest place name in the world - even longer than the Welsh one.

PS This is the place with the longest name:


I could not fit the word on one line! I always thought Wales had the longest place name! I then went to visit Wimbledon just to make a comparison - there is none! Firstly, it is a tiny little village and the tennis courts have weeds growing up through the tarmac!

I finally went to one of the local beaches - totally isolated, rolling waves but with a beautiful sandy beach - a great place for a picnic.

Had a good night's sleep and worked out a plan for the next day - it was going to be a busy one!
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