Napier, North Island, New Zealand

4/15/19 – Monday

I’d met Trina at a local line dancing class in Spokane. She comes to visit her mom here periodically. We exchanged information. So when John & I came upon this great deal to cruise New Zealand I contacted her and her husband Dan. We had great exchanges via phone and emails, so we knew where we could meet them: at the I Site for Napier. In New Zealand they have these great tourist information centers called I Sites for each town we visited. In Picton that’s where we got the information for taking Bob’s Bay Track hike. In Napier, Trina had called them to find out where to meet us. The cruise ship sends its guests in a free shuttle to the Napier I Site (that free shuttle bus is how we got to the National Museum, Te Papa yesterday. I had been nervous about how we’d find one another with the crowds that come off a cruise ship but Trina was sure there would be no problem. She was right. She and Dan spotted us soon after we got off our bus.

First they took us to a grocery store for snacks for our trip to our “surprise”. Then we went to the best bakery in Napier for cream doughnuts.

You can see them at the lower right. Mmm, they were so creamy, like an eclair.

We continued on our 2 hour drive through the countryside toward the Forest spot of our surprise. Here are some views.

We continued on our 2 hour drive through the countryside toward the Forest spot of our surprise. Here is another view.
We continued on our 2 hour drive through the countryside toward the Forest spot of our surprise. Here is another view, including sheep.
We continued on our 2 hour drive through the countryside toward the Forest spot of our surprise. Here is another view, including cattle.

Here is a river we had to ford in our Subaru.

The view from our surprise. See the river peaking through at the bottom?

Our surprise was a hot springs waterfall that was piped into 2 tubs in a secluded spot high in the mountains. Ah, so simple, hot and so relaxing.

Naturally we’d stayed until the last minute. Once we’d changed into our street clothes we quickly enjoyed our fresh milk (from the grocery, store). It was quite delicious and something they’re really proud of. Their sheep (where we get Marino wool) were their primary export until Britain joined the EU and now get sheep products from there. Now they farm dairy cattle, producing the best milk. Plus we enjoyed those yummy cream doughnuts with our milk. Yum.

We rushed to get back to town in time for our bus, so no chance for landscape photos. We did have enough time to stop at the best meat pie bakery in Napier, Wisey’s. Dan is in the foreground.

I took this photo as we arrived at the I Site, then ate my meat pie in the line to get on our bus. Mine was steak, mushrooms and gravy. Yum!!! Dan is a construction worker. He said this is what everybody has for their lunch. Also, they don’t use subcontractors to build here. He, Dan, does it all himself.

We discussed so many things on our way to and from the hot spring; everyone can get a “Lifestyle” block of several acres where they can raise goats, sheep and some dairy cows, as well as a large garden. There are not so many people here. There are 33 sheep for every human. The people love the outdoors, nature and pure food (not so processed). Dan and Trina often have visitors who work on their farm for the chance to stay, then stay much longer than they’d planned. New Zealanders’ attitude is “S’all right”, very laid back with tolerance for all. The Maori people and Scots have long been getting together and making babies. Very low unemployment. He mentioned the ACC too, how even visitors have that help.

Napier is proudly built with Art Deco designed buildings downtown.
Another Art Deco building.

About Patricia Elser

I've always loved the loose, flowing, transparent look of watercolors, of Chinese paintings and their calligraphy, but alas, no watercolor classes were available when I was in school, so that interest remained buried until my children were grown. Even then, I was afraid that I couldn't really paint, so upon my sister's advice, I actually started to take classes. I signed up for every class available, determined to learn no matter how afraid I was. I came upon a teacher, Stan Miller, who inspired me, who opened the door to success in watercolor. I love to look at beautiful images. I want to capture them forever. All my life, photography was how I gathered images of the beauty I saw. Thanks to all that photography, I enjoy composing pictures, especially up close. Watercolors allow me to add more of me in their translation of that beauty. My paintings reflect my love for music and dance, with their rhythm and flow. I am fascinated by the play of light, so it appears in my pictures as drama for they are filled with darks and lights. Maybe it's the challenge, maybe it's the beauty, but now, when a work comes together, it fills my soul.
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