Monday, 26th November – Tongariro to Napier

Weather somewhat better when we awoke, but still on the chilly side. Dry, though.

Decided to take the scenic route across the mountains via the Taihape to Napier road rather than the rather more boring state highway option, even though it was longer in terms of time. Glad we did, as some of the scenery was spectacular, but it was around 150 kilometres of occasionally very twisty road and we did not see a single car going in our direction at any time. No towns at all either. Weird. There was a warning that there was no petrol for 140 kilometres. Thank God we’d filled up the day before.

Glorious display of gorse on the way:

Got to the hotel in Napier and checked in. They only had us down for one night, when in fact our itinerary was for two. They didn’t seem to think this was a problem – the hotel seems to be lightly occupied – but it’s still a bit of a worry that this is the third time that records have differed.

No matter. Went out for a short walk along the seafront and had a quick look around this interesting town, booking a walking tour at the visitor centre around the art deco area tomorrow morning (for Jean) and a winery tour in the afternoon (me). Much of this place lives on its art deco history, as it was virtually destroyed in a big earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in this style. We’ll find out more tomorrow on the walk.

Proof of the volcanic nature of this area can be seen in the black sand on the beach.

A nice meal at the hotel was a welcome change from last night’s disappointment. After a tough drive and an earlyish start tomorrow, an early night beckons…..

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