Wellington, Napier

After one relax day in Picton we took the Interislander ferry and after a three hour cruise we arrived in Wellington. Wellington is the capital of NZ and has a nice waterfront with lots of pubs and restaurants and some governmental buildings. We liked very much the Civic Square with the Rugby Statue. Drove to the Mount Victoria Lookout with stunning panoramic views of Wellington city and harbour, and beyond. Interesting enough most of the Blocks of the city’s central business district now occupy land that was below sea level before the earthquake in 1855. While Wellington has a nice atmosphere we didn’t think that it is worth to stay longer and next morning we left toward Napier.

A  national disaster resulted  in Napier becoming an Art Deco city. In 1931 a massive earthquake rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes. Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed.

Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years.

New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. We took a map from the i-site and had a walk through Napier. There are some buildings with Art Deco elements but compared with real art deco European cities like Prague and Vienna we were disappointed.

We enjoyed very much Marine Parade Napier’s elegant seaside avenue lined with huge Norfolk Pines and dotted with motels and charming timber villas.

Next day we started toward Tongariro National Park one of the most amazing places during our trip.