art deco walk
Hawke's Bay is the Art Deco Capital of the World - thanks to the 1931 earthquake that virtually destroyed most of Napier and Hastings. The cities were rebuilt in the fashionable styles of the time - Spanish Mission, Stripped Classical, and above all Art Deco. just look at the different buildings designs
Whitebay World of Lavender
A short drive from the Art Deco City is Whitebay World of Lavender located in the scenic Elks Valley in Hawkes Bay. When we drove up the drive what stood out was a red barn surrounded by lavender fields. After walking around the grounds we proceeded to the gift shop. Inside was a wonderful selection of many lavender products and of course the sweet smell of lavender filled the air. I decided on a few gift items and visited with the friendly shopkeeper while the sales clerk wrapped everything in bright purple paper tied with ribbon.
Whitebay World of Lavender is really a great place to visit and it is an easy stop on your way between Napier and Taupo on Hwy 5. They also have cafe dining next to the lavender fields and in the summer a lavender harvest tour is available.
Marine Parade's park can occupy you for some time if you care to take the time.
There are lots of the bleeding obvious and, tucked away in quiet corners, the not-so-obvious such as this waterwheel and other fountains other than the gorgeous standout in the previous tip.
Road trip to Te Mata Peak
Take a scenic drive from Napier to Havelock North, up to Te Mata Peak. At the very top of Te Mata Peak there is a lookout point with markers and historic information.You will see an amazing view of the majestic green hills, lush valleys, vineyards and the distant Shoreline of the Hawkes Bay Region.
The Art Déco capital of New Zealand
As a resident of the Christchurch area and a little coward sometimes... I can tell you how traumatic it must have been for the people of Napier to be in a position to build a city from scratch.
We had our big earthquake on 4 September 2010 and are still looking at a lot of rubble, and often the locals beg the City Council and architects to not rebuild the city with cheap and faceless shoebox buildings, and better have a look at Napier.
This city in the Hawkes Bay was reduced to rubble by a huge earthquake on 27 February 1931 that killed 256 people. The city used its chance and created something unique by building a fantastic place in the then fashionable Art Déco style. So Napier has become the Art Déco capital of New Zealand. The two main streets are lined by colourful buildings in which I too happily posed for a lot of photos. (Well, could have been more... ;-))
Of course, not everything in Napier is about Art Déco, although they do have an Art Déco Festival which attracts a lot of visitors, an Art Déco shop, Art Déco walks, and they do dress up in Art Déco fashion, drive Art Déco cars, and I am sure they permanently dance - the Charleston.
But there is more about Napier. For example, at Christmas time you can talk to Santa Bear... or maybe not, if he was sold after my visit.
I enjoyed the beauty of Marine Parade and sat on the lap of Pania of the Reef who was stolen in 2005 but returned. I just wanted to check myself if she was really back at her usual spot. I also went to Possum World - and had a cake - which was absolutely not Art Déco, and I shared it with some sparrows who carried the crumbs to their chicks in the nest. I am not as greedy as it seems sometimes ;-))
If you happen to have some spare time when in Napier, do not miss a visit to the famous gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, and if you have some more time, get up to Te Mata Peak.