It’s been ages since we last took a weekend trip away, so it was lovely to escape the awful weather in Wellington this weekend and head north to Napier. We were last there in October 2013, though I’ve been to the Hawke’s Bay region a couple of times since.
We set off on Friday morning, driving over the Rimutaka Range, through Masterton, stopping for lunch at the delightful Nibbley Pig Cafe in Woodville. From there we passed through Dannevirke, where one is welcomed by a giant Viking (complete with horned helmet), and from there to Napier.
Recommended place to stop – The Nibbley Pig
What we did
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t nearly as good as it was when we visited three years ago, (see also here for photos of Napier in the sun) but it was still warmer and drier than Wellington, which was battered by rain this weekend. Napier as you may know, is famous for its Art Deco buildings. The town was destroyed by an earthquake in February 1931, and rebuilt following the design style fashionable at the time. Public buildings and ordinary dwellings bear the hallmark features of Art Deco wherever you look.
Before checking into our bed and breakfast, we took a short walk along the waterfront and into town, stopping to admire the yarn bombing at bottom of Emerson Street.
Dinner on Friday night was at Indigo, an Indian restaurant on Hastings Street. We ate there on our last visit, and were not disappointed this time either. Poppadoms were already on the table on arrival, so there was something to nibble while deciding what to eat. After some mixed vegetable pakora with a tamarind rich dipping sauce, Karl had a chicken tikka masala and I opted for a goat madras, both of which we really enjoyed. I have to say, we were surprised by the bill, which was far less than one would have anticipated, given what we had to eat. When we were there, there was live music, which made a nice change from the usual muzak. The place was full, so obviously popular.
On Saturday morning, we took another stroll into town, stopping briefly at the mini farmers’ market and going to the museum before picking up a bite of lunch at Café Ujazi on Tennyson Street to fortify us for an afternoon of wine tasting (more of that in a later post). The museum (MTG Hawke’s Bay) is well worth a visit. As well as local history, there is an excellent basement display about the 1931 earthquake, and an upper floor with special exhibitions such as the current one of vases by Lalique.
Outside the cathedral
The war memorial, Karl reading about it on the left. The original was destroyed in the earthquake and re-erected in 1947
Archway on Marine Parade
Top of a bollard
Mandarin olive oil and spicy fig chutney picked up at the farmers’ market
Where we stayed
On this visit, we stayed at Mon Logis, a bed and breakfast establishment to be found on the Marine Parade. Built in the 1860s, it is one of the few buildings to have survived the 1931 earthquake. Gerard, the owner, is a French former rugby player, and makes a great host and breakfast chef. Our room had a fantastic view over the water, and I have to say both of us slept soundly both nights we were there. There is both visitor and street parking, and it is walking distance from everything. There is wifi, but no television in the rooms, though there is a lounge with a TV tea, coffee and biscuits available.
Outside Mon Logis
The door to the balcony and the view out to the water
Breakfast is served around a communal table, so be prepared to chat and meet new people. There was a large bowl of fresh fruit, yoghurt, muesli, warm croissants and preserves and excellent cheese and ham omelettes should you so wish. Best of all, I had a large pot of tea all to myself, which was much appreciated.
We drove back south on Sunday morning, with steadily worsening weather, getting home in the afternoon, laden with bottles of wine purchased on our wine tour. But more of that next time…
Cover picture: view from the window, Friday evening