When the MS Volendam docked in Hawke’s Bay, we received a warm welcome by the Napier people!  To our surprise, most everyone was adorned in 1920’s dress, like they had stepped out of The Great Gatsby novel.  There was even a band playing 1920’s tunes and vintage cars lined up dockside.

After a short shuttle ride into town, we were given a walking map to take in all the Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture and old buildings along the main streets of Napier, and learned that most of this town was re-built in the 1930’s due to the devastating 1931 7.9 magnitude earthquake that destroyed most of the buildings.  However, this unfortunate disaster opened up new opportunities for Napier to become a charming town as the Art Deco capitol of the World, with a year round Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and mild sunny winters.  To learn more about Napier, visit www.artdeconapier.com .

Our taxi driver, Chris #270 gave us a great tour of Hawke’s Bay (#06 834-0256, email:  admin@hbcombinedtaxis.co.nz ).  Hawke’s Bay has a vigrant and flourishing artistic and cultural life with museums and galleries to artists’ studios.  Renowned as a premium food and wine producing area, you often see fruit and vegetable stands selling apricots, corn, apples and more across the countryside.  Hawke’s Bay is experiencing a surge in wine production with wineries and tasting rooms in unique settings like the contemporary Elephant Hill, www.elephanthill.co.nz, on the ocean’s edge with stunning views of Cape Kidnapper, contrasted against older estates like Mission Estate Winery, www.missionestate.co.nz.

For amazing views, head to Te Mata Peak  which overlooks Hawke’s Bay and the Tukituki River Valley, or rent a bicycle and cycle on Napier’s Marine Parade on the Rotary Pathway, a dedicated walking and cycling 6-mile path that follows the coastline.  Either way, take in the fresh air and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean and Cape Kidnappers.