After all the volcanoes, bubbling mud pools and mountains in North Island’s central plateau we were really looking forward to some beach time again and our next destination was Hawke’s Bay. The region is quite famous for it’s wineries, endless orchards … and yummie strawberries 🙂
The Sunday farmers market in Hastings even had real German style bread and Bratwürste – imagine the feast we had that evening!
Sightseeing in Napier reminded us a lot of the movie “The Great Gatsby” since the city was completely rebuilt in art deco style after a devastating earthquake in 1931 and a lot of shops resembled small museums of that era. Only the music that some kids played in a park did not fit into the soundtrack … guess which 2013 mega-youtube-hit they were playing? Or even better … guess “what does the fox say?” 🙂
And it was driving from Napier to our campground in Hastings that we met our first Kiwi police officer … including flashing headlights and all. After we had pulled over he asked us sternly whether we realised how fast we were driving, to which we truthfully replied that we were not going faster than 100 km/h … too bad it was an 80s zone *gulp*! When we showed him that our sat-nav still showed the 100 speed limit sign he recommended that in New Zealand we should read the little round red signs on the side of the road instead of trusting our GPS. Then he told us to pay better attention next time and sent us off. WOW – does anybody know how much this little episode would have cost in Oz?
Driving strictly within the speed limits on the little round red signs on the side of the road, we passed Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu. Yes, apparently this really is a Maori name of a place and they even put a sign there claiming the title of longest place name in the world! Funny enough the only five people interested in this fascinating fact on that day were all German … must be a genetic predisposition for ridiculously long words, like Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz (which was in fact recognised as longest German word in the Duden until this particular law was abolished by the Landtag in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in 2013 – www.tagesschau.de) or the fictional Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft 😉
The last night before reaching Wellington we spent in our first DOC campground in Waiohine gorge … imagine zigzagging on gravel roads through endless pastures and bushland (strictly within the displayed speed limits) until you reach a small campground in the middle of nowhere with an impressive swing bridge leading to the most amazing hiking trails. Too bad we had already made plans with friends in Wellington for the next day, but we’ll definitely come back to this place for some hiking on our way back to Auckland!