NEW ZEALAND, Hawkes Bay Area, North Island, 21-23 Feb 2013

Hawkes Bay including Wairoa, Napier, Taupo, Kinloch & Earthquakes

New Zealand, Hawkes Bay 21-23 feb 2013, wairoa, QE2 and American tourists in Napier, taupo, earthquakes, Lake Taupo is the same size as Singpapore, views of Tongariro National Park from Lake Taupo, rose gardens and parks, Spa Park in Taupo, we have covering amongst others 103 selective slideshow images, rotorua, mount doom, lake rotorua, boysenberry & feijoa ice-cream, hoki poki, ruepehi, sunken gardens, art deco, black swans, fejioa, bungee jumping, earthquakes in this region, huka river, criterion hotel, 1930s, kinloch, lake tuito, marine parade, museums, artwork, hawkes bay, whaiapunga falls, pohutakawa trees in bloom, top 10 site taupo, bay view, gisborne, wairoa river, waikiki lagoon, picnics, mohaka river, viaduct, berry farm and berry ice cream, Bay View Snapper holiday park (now Napier Beach) , kiwi parks campsites, thermal explorer highway (state highway 5), fruit ice creams, yummy, kaweka forest park, lucky escape Wairoa had an earthquake at 4.3 on the Richter scale at 7.15 p.m. on the 22nd, we were only there yesterday. We were previously in this area in 2007 and then again in 2017.

 
falls kaweka forest park, napier to taupo.jpg
keef, huka falls in the background
keef, huka falls in the background
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lunch sh2 mohaka railway viaduct
lunch sh2 mohaka railway viaduct
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Thursday February 21st 2013

Summary, Gisborne to Wairoa to Bay View just north of Napier

We drove around Gisborne on the way to Wairoa. Gisborne had many palm trees down the centre of the main street, it is quite an old town, New Zealand of course calls it a city, despite in UK terms its relative size.

We stopped in Wairoa which is on a large river. In 1930 it had been flattened by an earthquake although some of the buildings had survived. We used the walkway by the river which had huge date palms and cycads and Pohutukawa trees. It was very sunny, but our stroll allowed us to take in both river views and the architecture of the high street.

We then drove through the town after our circular walk back to the van, out to a point where there was a beach, we had camped in Wairoa in 2008 and remember with some fondness the BBQ made from the back end of an old 1950’s car.

Wairoa had seen better days, most of the shops were tatty and a lot were now sadly empty. We then carried onto Bay View, just north of Napier. Highway 2 which we traveled on was very twisty up and down mountains lined with a lot of bushes, also a lot of lorries transporting timber in the form of newly cut logs.

We arrived at Bay View having stopped at a real fruit ice cream place on the highway as it was a very hot day and who are we to refuse the opportunity of yet another ice-cream, well not us ha-ha.

We stayed at the Kiwi Parks Bay View Snapper Holiday Park (by 2022 it has been renamed at Napier Beach) Anne was not impressed it was supposedly 4 stars, she thought more like 2.  Very overpriced at $44. The beach was black shingle and looked a bit like a highway roads depot gravel supply. As it was sunny weather Anne did some hand washing, the showers cost $1 extra which was a complete rip off as we thought the site was charging too much anyhow. Not impressed.

It rained slightly overnight.

Friday February 22st 2013

Summary, Bay View Snapper Holiday Park to Napier Town to Taupo.

We slept in until 9.30 a.m. obviously tired. It was cloudy and overcast when we got up which made the site feel even drearier than it was. Drove into Napier which we have seen before but it is a lovely place. Very 30s after the earthquake forced a complete rebuild.

The QE2 cruise ship was in port which made the place incredibly busy with American tourists. We walked along Marine parade gardens which are just lovely, and all the flowers were out in full bloom. Just so colourful.

We then saw Scottish bagpipers in the shopping precinct, Napier has a strong Scottish feel , their influence is quite widespread in NZ but not particularly welcome in places like Waitangi where they exchanged vast acreage of land for a couple of sheep, now that is what I call taking advantage of the natives.

There were lots of old vintage cars to take tourists on a trip around the town. We walked around the town and bought a small hand luggage sized flight bag on wheels costing $59 (or £31) in a deep purple colour. We stored it under the seat in the motorhome ready for use on our trip to Oz and Singapore to carry a few extras.

Earthquakes, it should be noted that in 1931 Napier had an earthquake that was 7.8 on the Richter scale, in 1932 Wairoa had an earthquake that was 6.8 on the Richter scale and today (remember we were there only yesterday) Wairoa had an earthquake at 4.3 on the Richter scale at 7.15 p.m. a lucky escape me thinks! They don’t call it the shaky isles for nothing. The epicenter was actually 35 kms south of Wairoa but it was well and truly felt there.

We then took highway 5 out of Napier heading north to Taupo on the Thermal Explorer Highway. We saw forests, gorges, and mountainous scenery plus a waterfall, all very nice.

This journey took about 3 hours as we stopped for a brief lunch at a picnic stop. We arrived at Taupo to sunshine, a very blue lake which in case you don’t know is massive, the size of Singapore in fact.  We visited it with C&D&P in 2008 where we attempted fishing not with much success, tee hee.

Taupo itself is a very busy city stretched out over a wide site but with no high-rise buildings. We got to the Top 10 5-star resort campsite in Taupo at 4 p.m.  We then spent the rest of the afternoon in the thermally heated swimming pool with a constant temperature of 30 degrees centigrade, just lovely.

The weather was very warm at 24 degrees centigrade, and there were lots of tents, motorhomes and families on the site being as it was the start of a weekend and kiwis love the outdoor life.

Saturday February 23rd 2013

Summary, Taupo.

26 degrees centigrade and overcast at first but sunny and blue skies by 10 a.m. Sadly a little girl in the tent on a pitch behind us screamed continually until 5.30 a.m. Annoyingly the parents did nothing to comfort her. Other campers made complaints to the Top 10 site office but there wasn’t much they could do about it and anyway the night was over by then.

We went into Taupo to Pak N Save to do some food shopping and drew money out of a Westpac Bank machine. We then walked around the fascinating harbour area, with great views of the 3 mountains in the Tongariro National Park, one had snow on top. We then visited the rose garden and a small park beside the harbour.

Lake Taupo looked fantastic, blue clear waters and surrounded by mountain ranges. The lake as I think we said earlier is the same size as Singapore. The country not just the city. It is huge.

We then drove out to Kinloch round the lake and had lunch thereon our camp chairs. It was a shingle beach but there were lots of people swimming and riding on jet-skis. A lovely bay, we could not see Taupo as Kinloch sets it apart via a promontory. A man got cramp whilst wearing flippers and snorkeling off the beach, he called out for help and a family who had a jet ski rescued him and bought him back to shore, good stuff.

We had an ice-cream (again tee hee) It was Tip Top again, the best in NZ in our opinion. Boysenberry obviously. We bought them from a café in Kinloch.  We then drove back to Taupo and stopped at the Spa Park. Lots of people were walking down the hill to go to the hot springs and spa. We then went to watch the bungee jumpers down Spa Road, near our campsite. Besides dangling from an elastic band there was also a chair on a rope option. You wouldn’t get us on them but fun to watch even over the screams, ha-ha.   They were jumping down a river canyon. Back at the campsite we went swimming. A very relaxing day and gorgeous weather. Back home in England it was 2 degrees centigrade with more snow, I think we made the right choice.