Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | March 27, 2011

Wellington to Napier to Taupo – the New Zealand north island adventure continues

Kia ora good evening, as they say on the news. You will be pleased to hear we have successfully avoided rum since the recent episode and our livers are almost fully functional once more.

Thank goodness! We had a day or so of recuperation before ticking off the final few things there were to see and do in Wellington and the surrounding area.

We’d been to most of the famous attractions, so we ended up spending our last few days at pretty random places. We took a walk into The Hutt and ended up at a Polish Festival, which was ace! There was dancing and I ate a sausage.

For Gavin, it doesn’t get better than that!

Dzien dobry my friends. Dwa piwa.

Dzien dobry my friends. Dwa piwa.

Next up was the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, which was really cool. The chap in there gave us a guided tour as it was so quiet and we really enjoyed it. I love looking at old money, plus they have this insane inflation-calculating computer from the forties made out of plastic and bits of aeroplanes that uses water to do it’s sums. It even has an awesome name – the MONIAC. Quality. Here’s a video of it in action.

We also went to the Petone Settlers Museum. Petone is near where we were staying and is also the site many of the UK settlers landed at. They had been on a boat for six months and turned up expecting houses, only to be confronted with mud huts and Maori tribesmen, which would probably have been a bit daunting. However, the museum showed that they all got on very well, at least until the Maori’s realised the treaty they had signed gave away most of their land to the new arrivals.

Fortunately all that is in the past and the kind of racial tensions that felt clear in Australia are not noticeable to the casual observer in New Zealand (though there are still disagreements about land rights dating back to the treaty) and everyone seems to get along fine and have representation in parliament etc. The only tensions we felt were when I got attacked by a massive seagull trying to steal my sandwich.

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Wellington, especially staying with Colleen and Phil who were lovely. Colleen said she’d give us a lift to the station when we left. We thought she meant the local station, but she drove us right into town to Wellington station where we had to get our bus! Lovely lady.

I was really looking forward to our next stop. Erin always tells me off for not doing enough research about a place before we go (I like to read the book after having a quick walk around the town) but this time I thought I would surprise her and give her a history lesson about our destination while we were on the bus.

What a treat.

I got myself on Wikipedia, made  a few notes, and after doing reasonably well in the bunfight to get on the bus first, started telling Erin all about how where we were going was capital of the Capagnia region, situated between Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegrean fields. She didn’t look impressed.

That’s because we were going to Napier, New Zealand and you were telling me about Naples in Italy you donk!

Oopsy. They still do pizza though don’t they?

Napier is on the east coast, about halfway up the north island. In 1931 it was flattened by an earthquake and what that didn’t destroy was ravaged by fire. The council took the remarkable step of deciding to remake the city in the Art Deco style.

It is so cool! Imagine going to a theme park called Fiftiesland. It’s like that, everywhere. Except with real people instead of flappers and gangsters.

We ate here - Gavin had pizza

We ate here - Gavin had pizza

This is an actual shop - they are all like this

This is an actual shop - they are all like this

Look up and this is what you see

Look up and this is what you see

We took loads more pictures, all of which you can see here.

As well as lovely architecture, we also met some lovely people. Mia and Greg are managing Archies Bunker where we stayed. They’re from England and we had a great time talking to them. It seems like ages since we met some nice English people, so that was really cool.

We also did a big – well for us anyway – walk up Bluff Hill which is the highest point in the area, as I was excited and thought there would be an amazing view of Napier and the sea.

But there wasn’t, was there?

Nope. Just a view of the boring industrial docks.

Ah well, at least it was easier going down the hill than up it!

Going down Bluff Hill

Going down Bluff Hill

From Napier we got the bus to Taupo where we are now.

This is where I did my skydive many years ago. I’m not planning on doing one this time. I think Gavin will though.

I won’t!

Go on.

No.

Go on, go on go on.

Never gonna happen sweetheart.

We booked ourselves into a little studio, thinking it was a flat at the end of someone’s garden. When we arrived it turned out to be part of a lodge with a few different rooms and the lovely lady said we could have the much larger one-bedroomed place for the same price.

Result!

And it’s cheaper than staying at a backpackers.

Double result!

Our apartment in Taupo

Our apartment in Taupo

So that’s us for the next week. Relaxing here with a view of the river winding down to Lake Taupo, cooking nice food, and drinking nice wine.

Cheap wine.

OK, cheap wine.

Ciao for now x

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