Although it was another hot day in Hawkes Bay, rain was forecast for the late afternoon so we set off for Cape Kidnappers as soon as we'd had breakfast as we didn't think we could cope with rain after three weeks without it! The Cape is certainly a beautiful spot, but as it's mostly given over to a camp site we weren't able to stop for long, so we took off for Hastings hoping that, unlike the last time we were there, it would be open! We were in luck! Hastings was named in 1873 by Thomas Tanner, who had settled in central Hawkes Bay a few years earlier & saw the agricultural potential of the Heretaunga Plains. He & a group of of others, known as the Twelve Apostles, leased land from local Maori, then went on to buy up the entire Plains from them. After exploring Hastings for a while & hunting down a decent coffee shop, we bought some provisions & took them back to our Napier motel & then walked the short way along Marine Parade to the Aquarium. There we escaped the threatening rain & saw lots of marine life from around the world. My favourites had to be the miniature blue penguins, which had all been rescued after various unpleasant accidents meant they were unable to survive in the wild. What gorgeous little creatures they are! We said goodbye to the penguins & crove up to Bluff Hill lookout where the gathering rain clouds added to the spectacular views across Hawke Bay to Mahia peninsula, along the northern coastline down over the Port of Napier. The lookout is on the remains of a gun emplacement built during WW2 to protect Napier
As we got back the heavens opened & it rained heavily all night!
It was still wet outside the next morning & the temperature was a lot lower. We left Napier before 10am & drove to Taupo. We were hoping to stop on the way, but there wasn't a sign of a cafe or similar for miles! Visibility wasn't too good as there was a light rain & it was quite misty in places. The road was rather winding & hilly with lots of trees & in some places I was reminded of the moors. The journey was much quicker than we expected & we were in Taupo by midday so we parked up, had a look around & visited the I-site to find out about things we could do if the weather brightens up. Then we went to our motel on Lake Terrace to check in. Another ground floor apartment, thank goodness! Then it was off for a drive around part of the lake & up to Huka falls, where it was rather windy & cold but nevertheless as impressive as when we first went there 10 years ago. After that, a much needed cuppa in 'the hub' cafe & back into town for a bite to eat in our motel.
Much as the rain is needed we were hopeful that it would only last the night!