Friday, March 14, 2008


This is the small bay outside the restaurant, "The Smoke House" in Mapua. Disregard smaller image.

Napier was completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in the art deco style. It wasn't until the 1980's, however, that the city council realized what they had, and by then, several examples of art deco buildings had been torn down to build glass-fronted modern 70's buildings. Now, it has become the "art deco center" of the world. It is a lovely small city with palm trees reminiscent of South Beach but without the high temperatures, the tourists, and the humidity. We had a good architectural tour for an hour this morning, then drove up to Mission Estates, the oldest winery in NZ, which is still owned by the Catholic Church. Until 8 years ago, it was still a monastery. We had lunch in a small cafe nearby that is situated in a garden center - sort of a "ladies who do lunch" place - but beautiful.

Then, we drove down to Clearview Estates on the Pacific coast, tasted their excellent wines, and did a 45 minutes hike along the rocky beach toward Cape Kidnappers. The tide was going out, but we got stoppd by a really rocky area beneath the cliffs where we either got wet or turned back. We chose the latter.

Stopped in at Kim Crawford nextdoor to Clearview and met a couple of local lads, one who is an advertising consultant, and his cousin who just won an international award for portrait painting. Very friendly to us old folks, they invited us to share their meat and cheese platter with them. Like all New Zealanders, they are bright and interested in people, so it was fun to chat with them about their country, Australians, and wines.

Off to dinner, and then tomorrow we have the local farmers' market in Havelock North, and lunch at Craggy Range.

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