Napier to Rotorua
The weather today was just fantastic! Deep blue skies and not a cloud to be seen - and really warm. Gorgeous.
We checked out of the hotel and headed into the town to find breakfast. We found a café and while we were waiting in the queue to order, a lady passed us with a small parrot on her finger (or something like a small parrot!). She left the parrot outside, sitting on her handbag while she made her food order and then, when her food came, the parrot sat on her finger and she and the parrot shared the scone. Our breakfast was delicious and we were not put off finishing it, despite the hygiene lapses of our fellow diners. They're obviously very close!
We then headed up the Art Deco Centre which is run by the Art Deco Trust, which raises money for the protection of the Art Deco features of the city, as well as their appropriate restoration. There's a shop with various Art Deco items for sale and then they also have details of organised walks and drives around the city which highlight the Art Deco features. They also have a twenty-minute film which you can watch, which tells the story of Napier and how it was affected by the earthquake in 1931 - 7.5 on the Richter Scale, so pretty devastating. As a result of the quake, the land was two metres higher than it was previously and the city's boundaries were extended. It described how it was re-built and all the various influences which brought about the Art Deco style of architecture and how the city has been preserved and maintained. It was a great little film and really interesting.
We also made some purchases - one of which will be travelling by sea over the next month to 2 Devon Gardens. We bought a rug which as been designed by a specialist Art Deco Advisor who has taken details from existing buildings and features. It's going to go in our lounge.
(We think that the cricket team were staying at our hotel for the Test Match as all their baggage was stacked up outside when we went back to get the car. Didn't see any players, though, so no autographs!)
The road from Napier to Taupo - our proposed stop before Rotorua - was lovely. We're getting a little blasé about the dramatic scenery, but it was magnificent. A tad more traffic than on the South Island, but hardly heavy!
We'd asked in the café how long it would take to get to Taupo and had been told it would take one hour and forty minutes. We were caning it and it took us nearly two hours. (Iain might not have realised that I could see that the needle quite often hit or went over 140 kph, but I saw!). So, I'm not sure what speed the New Zealanders are used to travelling at.
We didn't stay long in Taupo, just long enough to appreciate the gorgeous lake, have a snack for lunch and just enjoy the lovely sunshine. Rotorua was another hour up the road from Taupo, so we didn't want to get there too late in the afternoon. We did have to have a look at the plane outside the MacDonalds restaurant as Iain had read about it - and obviously knew a little about the plane, itself. He can be a mine of information at times!
As we travelled along to Rotoua we could smell something really unpleasant - like stagnant water or bad sewers. It wasn't until later in the afternoon that Iain realised it was the sulphur from all the volcanic activity around. Not the most alluring scent!
We'd booked a motel - very similar to the one in Blenheim, actually, although the internet is free here, which is nice - and found it really easily. We dumped our bags and headed into town for a bit of a recci. The sun was still hot and it was nice to stretch our legs after the long drive. We'll explore a bit more tomorrow.
We picked up some groceries - breakfast and lunch for tomorrow - and checked out a restaurant for dinner. I, for one, will be going home looking rather more well fed than I arrived! A day of reckoning is coming. It's definitely a disadvantage to being on the move and not doing your own cooking. Oh well, ay!