The Art Decor Town of Napier, North Island...New Zealand

Now we have to take a little pit stop here on our road trip around the North Island of New Zealand because I have something fascinating to tell you....
You may already know this and if you do then you get full marks and even a gold star Star but if you don't then this could be the best thing you hear today!
If you're going on a road trip and have a hire car or have a new car then this is for you!
Have you ever driven into the petrol (gas) station and wondered which side of the car the petrol cap was on? Straining your neck to see through the side mirror, winding down the window to check or worse still having to get out of the car to check...all very inconvenient if you've pulled up to the pump and the tank happens to be on the other side of the car!
Well problem solved!
Take a look at your dashboard....there's a clue...see below

The symbol of the petrol pump shows which side of the car the cap is on by displaying it.
The cap will be on whichever side the handle on the pump shows! 
For instance the display above shows that the tank is located on the right side of the car.  
How simple and clever is that! 
I've mentioned it to so many people and they didn't have a clue so there you go....
Now on with our trip overwise it'll be Christmas before we know it!

Where were we? Are yes...Hawke's Bay in the North Island of New Zealand.
Before we arrive at our next destination of the town of Napier, I would like to give you a little history lesson about the location first. 
(I'm sure we all remember hearing the horrific devasting news about the 6.3 Christchurch earthquakes last year, which I certainly wouldn't want to trivialize those terrible events but I want to focus on an earlier earthquake today.)

The 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, was New Zealand's deadliest natural disaster. 
More than 250 people were killed, and the city centres of Napier and Hastings badly destroyed.
The earthquake struck at 10.47am on 3 February (the hands on the clock of the band rotunda in Napier froze at this time). The ground heaved upwards and swayed and then, 30 seconds later, there was a downward movement and violent shaking. In total, the quake lasted for two and a half minutes.
Most deaths in the quake occurred in the city centres, as buildings collapsed, trapping people, or as people who fled outside were hit by pieces of falling stonework. In Napier the newly built Nurses' Home collapsed, killing 12 people; 17 people died in Roach's department store in Hastings; and 15 people died in the Park Islands Old Men's Home near Taradale. Minutes after the quake finished fires broke out in Napier – these started in three chemist shops, where a gas jet was kept burning to melt the wax used to seal prescriptions. The fires burnt for 36 hours, destroying nearly 11 blocks of the central city before dying out. Fires also began in Hastings, but were more quickly put out. The navy ship HMS Veronica was docked in Napier harbour when the quake hit; the ship radioed Auckland for help, and sailors went into the city to join the rescue effort. Help quickly arrived from Auckland, with two navy ships carrying extra men, doctors and nurses from Auckland Hospital, and supplies. Following the destruction of the quake, a major project to rebuild Napier took place. The rebuilding was carefully planned, and the new town centre had many improvements, including some of New Zealand's first underground power and telephone lines. Guidelines were created to ensure that new buildings were safer; many were designed in the fashionable art deco style.
Today, Napier's art deco buildings have helped make the city a tourist attraction.
(for more information click on this link)

 As you drive along the decorative gardens which are located on a portion of the Foreshore Reserve at the southern end of the Marine Parade you can see the Gilray Fountain or more widely known as the Spirit of Napier...Hungarian born artist Frank Szirmay was inspired by characteristics of the Art Deco period and designed the naked form of an upward reaching young woman, which represents Napier rising from the ashes of the 1931 earthquake. 
(If you would like more details click on this link Spirit of Napier). 

  The town of Napier has been likened to a little piece of the Mediterranean Riviera down under; it is often referred to as the Nice of the Pacific. If you are a fan of Art Deco then this is the place for you to visit!
There are tour guides and events throughout the year...

This statue is situated on the high street and is modeled on Miss Sheila Williams, daughter of E A Williams of the notable architects of the era. Miss Williams led the "New Napier Week Carnival" in January 1933 to celebrate the town's recovery from the earthquake. 

We happened to be sitting having lunch when this cute vintage car came tootling around the corner...I'm so pleased that I actually managed to get a photo but apologise that it's out of focus.
In fact we saw quite a few vintage cars but I wasn't fast enough to capture them.

This information board had fascinating historical photos of the town from 1931...
...but then as you read this board and turn to the right...
there is the replaced fire station...
But it's no longer a working fire station now.

The town have organised walks and maps available which enable you to view all the art deco buildings. 
As you can see we had a beautiful sunny day for our visit.
I thought this shop would be ideal for fancy dress items....just look at all those hats for a start!
So after a wonderful lunch and leisurely wander around the town we headed up Napier Hill to overlook the town and harbour. The inner harbour has historical significance for the city of Napier.
The 1931 earthquake lifted parts of the inner harbour by some 1.5 metres. 
Illustrating that, West Quay and Nelson Quay were able to accommodate some fishing vessels at the turn of the century in areas which are now too shallow to take them.

I just loved this little tug boat....

As we look down from on reminds me of another high beautiful sightseeing attraction that we visited...
Te Mata Peak which is at the western boundary of the wine-producing Heretaunga Plains and stands nearly 400 metres above sea level. 
 From the summit of the peak you can enjoy panoramic views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. The volcano Ruapehu, in the centre of Tongariro National Park, is also visible on a clear day. 
It was incredibly windy up there and I had to hang on for dear life whilst taking these photos. 
 The nature trails on Te Mata Peak are great for hikers and mountain bikers!
Yes that's what 'they' say (whoever 'they' are?)  :-$
I have to confess at this stage that we drove up to the top and that was bad enough...stressful to say the least because near the top there is only just enough room for one car, so you have to say a prayer that you don't meet another car coming in the opposite direction! 
If you do then it's a very tricky challenge reversing down and thankfully not one we had to try. 
 I can't even begin to imagine the cardio workout going up hiking or on a bike, but the huge views might make the exertion totally worthwhile. But I'll stick with the car thank you very much!
Other hiking and biking trails in the Te Mata Trust Park lead through forest and along limestone valleys.

And so we'll head back to our little 'heaven on a hill'...

 I can give now give you a peep into Villa 1 of Telegraph Hill...
...this villa is a one bedroom
Simply stunning...
(the photos don't really do it justice)

And so the sun sets on our's time to head home.

But we'll be back again for sure...hopefully soon.

And so on that note I'll leave it for today....
I hope you've enjoyed our trip and will stop by this way again.
I have another trip in the planning stages but in the meantime they'll be my journal, art work, Muffin's antics and anything else that catches my attention. 
 Have a wonderful week everyone and I'll see you soon