Australia and New Zealand Mini Series Part 22: North Island, New Zealand: An Artistic Vision Arising from New Zealand's Worst Earthquake in 1931: Napier, and Hawke's Bay

This is the twenty-second in my series of short reflections on different places in Australia and New Zealand, as experienced during my November 2019 visit. Today is the sixth of my posts on New Zealand’s North Island.

map of New Zealand
map of New Zealand
Map of Australia and New Zealand

In my last post I wrote about our visit to the enchanting Lake Taupo.

Lake Taupo

From Lake Taupo, we headed south east to Napier, through a landscape of golden broom and vast pine plantations, which gave way to grand mountain scenery, as the road crossed a precipitous chasm. Our first view of Napier was from a great height and we saw areas of dry bleached grass for the first time since our arrival in New Zealand, with evidence of the logging industry everywhere.

The town of Napier was destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 which killed 256, injured thousands and devastated the Hawke’s Bay region. It remains New Zealand’s deadliest natural disaster. Out of this tragedy, though, a new and beautiful town was reborn; subsequently rebuilt in the Art Deco style of the period, Napier today is an artistic vision with evidence in its architecture of the most minute attention to the highest standards of design. Every years the locals hold an Art Deco Festival with a Great Gatsby picnic on the sea front which I would love!

The region is also noted for its wineries and first of all we visited The Mission winery outside the town. I was intrigued to learn that it is New Zealand’s oldest winery and ‘the birthplace of New Zealand wine‘; and started life specialising in communion wines; hence the name. We certainly enjoyed our wine tasting there.

We then went down into Napier, where we became absorbed in gazing at and photographing many elegant buildings as we strolled around the town.

After that we drove to Bluff Hill Lookout overlooking Hawke’s Bay where vast numbers of stacked pine logs awaited transportation by ship to other countries.

Bluff Hill Lookout was developed by Napier City Council on the remnants of two 2nd World War gun emplacements, so that visitors today may admire the panorama of Hawke’s Bay. We enjoyed the beauty of the gardens surrounding the lookout, full of colourful flowers, and the fascinating view of the bay.

SC Skillman, psychological, suspense, paranormal fiction & non-fiction. My next book, Paranormal Warwickshire, will be published by Amberley Publishing on 15th June 2020 and is available to pre-order now either online, or from the publisher’s website, or from your local bookshop.

Australia and New Zealand Mini Series Part 21: North Island, New Zealand: Scenic Beauty and Black Volcanic Sand at Lake Taupo

This is the twenty-first in my series of short reflections on different places in Australia and New Zealand, as experienced during my November 2019 visit. Today is the fifth of my posts on New Zealand’s North Island.

map of New Zealand
map of New Zealand
Map of Australia and New Zealand

In my last post I wrote about our visit to another of New Zealand’s most iconic attractions: a visit to the Glowworm Caves at Waitomo.

After this, we continued on our journey, now heading south-east to Napier, along roads lined with golden broom, and en route we were to stop off at Lake Taupo.

Lake Taupo

85 kilometres from Lake Taupo, we reached Waituhi Lookout, and walked up to view the sublime vista in which we could clearly see a distant snow-covered extinct volcano.

view from Waituhi Lookout

As we drove on we saw all around us golden broom interspersed with new young pines in plantations which had been logged.

We reached Lake Taupo, sparkling and dynamic, waves washing over black volcanic sand.

A little further on we reached a lookout over the lake from Lake Terrace – all around us and before us we could see golden broom, green grass, azure water, snow-capped mountain peaks with a dark green tree intersecting the panorama.

SC Skillman, psychological, suspense, paranormal fiction & non-fiction. My next book, Paranormal Warwickshire, will be published by Amberley Publishing on 15th June 2020 and is available to pre-order now either online, or from the publisher’s website, or from your local bookshop.