Posts Tagged With: Napier

The day I met a fellow blogger Jill…

There are some days during a trip that stand out above all others, as a highlight, a memorable occasion. Our day in Napier was one of those days. It was the day we met fellow blogger Jill and her husband John.

They are intrepid travellers and Jill’s blog has been on my list of must reads since she recently started taking us on journeys around her world in New Zealand and beyond. She has a way with words that describe her travels so well they make me get itchy feet and want, no yearn, to visit the locations and adventures she shares. In fact her descriptions are so good she has been asked to write a guest post on “Travel Gumbo” Take a look, you will be entranced with the country of Laos that Jill and John recently visited.

So when I asked Jill what she could recommend for us to see in her home town of Napier for the few hours the cruise ship docked there. I received a very special reply from Jill.

 “How would you like a chauffeur named John and a map reader called Jill?”

Wow, would I ever. I immediately replied and that set in motion a very special day.

I have been to Napier several times (take a look here for the last time we visited)

The Oosterdam docked in Napier on Good Friday. A perfect Autumn day, warm and sunny and when we met it was like greeting long time friends. That sort of instant rapport. We never stopped chatting. 

They took us on a half hour drive into the countryside around Napier to Te Mata Peak.

Napiar Jill and John PC 022_4000x3000
John was the ideal chauffeur, patient and accommodating of 3 photography tragics. Obligingly stopping as we ohhed and ahhed at the green lush scenery so we could hop out cameras at the ready.
Then we reached the narrow winding road seemingly reaching to the sky.
A straggly line of people appeared, trudging toward the summit. It was a poignant reminder that this is Good Friday as they paused to let us by.
Napiar Jill and John PC 019_2341x1913
Then we were at the top…
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Look carefully you will see the narrow road with a vehicle like a matchbox toy coming up. The Heretaunga Plain stretches to the ocean.
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What a view it is breathtaking. But Jack is busy with his own version.
“Look at me” he calls…
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“Got ya'”…
As well as the road there are also walking/running tracks crisscrossing the slopes.
Dog walkers

Dog walkers

Napiar Jill and John PC 016_4000x3000Napiar Jill and John PC 018_4000x3000

I could feel her exhilaration at making it to the top.

Napiar Jill and John PC 007_4000x3000

We had this magic place almost to ourselves with only a few other runners and walkers and another couple of cars. But time to move on. As John carefully backed out he is stopped and told to wait as 3 tourist buses are on the way up. We wait for one, then they let us go before the other 2 come up.

I  thank Jill and John and the wonderful connecting world of WordPress. Those 3 buses are bringing fellow passengers from the Oosterdam. Imagine 3 x approximately 40 on each bus milling around…

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Back down we look back to the formidable Te Mata Peak towering 399 metres above us.

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The scenery changes to lush green and the sheep are scattered across the paddocks.

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On the way back to Napier Jill and John still have a couple of surprise to show us.

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Te Awanga Beach, hopefully for a coffee, but being Good Friday it was shut. No worries Jack is still talking, maybe telling about the one that got away!!!

Napiar Jill and John PC 038_3832x2799

One last place was up to Bluff Hill Lookout where we gazed down on the Oosterdam seeming to take up the whole harbour, dwarfing the tiny tugboat waiting to guide us out.

Napiar Jill and John PC 040_3512x2661

As we walked toward the shuttle bus that would take us back to the Oosterdam these characters approached us asking if we would take their photo on their cell phones. Of course we took their photo on our cameras too.

Napiar Jill and John PC 043_4000x3000

Just what were they doing we asked. Just having fun and making people smile they said…

What a great ending, the whole day has been about connecting and smiling. The few hours we spent together with Jill and John is a tribute to the strength of the WordPress community in sharing and connecting world-wide and is one of the aspects of this media that is so appealing.

A very big THANK YOU Jill and John for your generosity and giving us an unforgettable tour of your beautiful part of New Zealand.

Jill posted about our visit shortly after the event. It is written in Jill’s inimitable style, take a look here. 

But wait there’s more…Napier Jill John JC 104_2292x1832

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As we arrived back a 4 piece Dixie jazz band greeted us and a row of vintage cars with their owners dressed in the style of the era gathered to wish us “Bon Voyage” 

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It was a very appropriate and emotional farewell to Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. I had a lump in my throat as they played “Now is the hour” and waved goodbye as the cruise liner slowly pulled away from the port.

I took a rather shaky video of the moment. There is rather a lot of back ground noise as the tour director on board welcomed us back and started to tell us what we had in store for the evenings entertainment.


Categories: cruise, Napier, New Zealand, Oosterdam, photos | Tags: , , , | 56 Comments

Travel Theme : Napier, Pretty in Pink

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums

Napier foreshore, beautiful display of geraniums



Napier Marine Parade


Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)

Hanging baskets filled with Impatients (busy lizzies)


Napier is one of the most beautiful cities in New Zealand. It is known as the Art Deco capital and when I looked through my photos I realized how pink was a dominant colour.

Napier, in the heart of the Hawke’s Bay wine region, suffered a massive earthquake in 1931. The quake and the fires that followed destroyed most of the town, but by the end of the decade Napier had the newest city centre on the globe.

Today, Napier’s town centre is recognised as one of the largest collection of Art Deco buildings outside Miami. Nowhere else in the Southern Hemisphere has such a concentration of buildings in the styles of the 1930s – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and especially Art Deco. 

At 10.46am on 3 February 1931, Napier and its surrounding region were struck by an earthquake that measured 7.8 on the Richter scale. While the ground shook violently for less than three minutes, 261 lives were lost as the ground moved and buildings crumbled around inhabitants. 
Fires broke out all over town, some beginning in chemist shops where gas jets were close to flammable liquids. Firemen could do little to stop the rapid spread as water supplies had been cut in the earthquake.

 Over the next two weeks, 525 aftershocks were felt in the region.

As a result of the earthquake, the Napier area tilted upwards – a maximum of just over 2m (7 feet) – and 2230 hectares (5575 acres) were raised to sea level. Since then, the area has continued to creep up at the rate of 1cm per year, so that it’s now 60cms (2 feet) above sea level. 
Reconstructing Napier  Art Deco was fashionable in the 1920s. The architectural style is characterised by the skyscraper shape, sunbursts and fountains, and geometric shapes.


In post-earthquake Napier, Art Deco was both a safe and economical choice. The new concrete buildings were more resistant to earthquakes and fire, materials were cheap and the stucco relief ornaments typical of Art Deco offered a less costly form of decoration. ( To see more of Napier’s story click here) 

The Masonic Hotel

The Masonic Hotel


The Masonic Hotel was destroyed in the earthquake and when it was rebuilt in the Art Deco style  it was one of the largest and most elaborate, up to date hotels in New Zealand at that time

Inside it had a rosy pink glow.

Many of the shops featured fashions and memorabilia from the 1920’s and 30’s.


Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink cardigan, out

Lovely to see this young man taking his grandmother, in her pink shirt, out


Napier Cathedral

Napier Cathedral

 While communion was being served, the original Cathedral was totally destroyed by earthquake with the loss of one life.

For 25 years a “temporary” wooden building, dedicated in October 1932 served as a Cathedral for the diocese.

In 1946 it was decided to rebuild and the foundation stone was laid on 12th October 1955. The chapel, chancel and most of the nave were dedicated by the Bishop of Waiapu and Archbishop of New Zealand, The Most Reverend Norman. Lesser, in 1960. But it was 1965 before the building was completed and the Cathedral was consecrated on 8th October 1967.

I find it interesting that the Masonic hotel was rebuilt immediately while it took over 36 years to finally finish the Cathedral.

The Cathedral is increasingly recognised as a fine example of modernist architecture. In 2005 the last three windows were installed finally completing the building.

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

The modern style stained glass window has pink in it too

I had only allowed half a day to explore this very interesting city. So much more to see so I hope, one day, to revisit Napier.


The theme of “pink” from Ailsa was very appropriate for me to show you around Napier. Visit “Where’s my backpack” for more pink posts.




Categories: Napier, New Zealand, photos, pink, travel theme | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

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