Rotorua – Napier (Rāapa, Maehe 28th 2012)

We planned to get as many cities as we could in 2 weeks from North Island to South Island in New Zealand, so that means we also had lots of travelling hours. That day was one of those. From Rotorua, we planned to go to Napier, a city near to Hawke’s Bay at 11am.

Again and again, we checkout from our motel early in the morning – dropped our luggage in the Rotorua I-site (which i think has the most gorgeous architecture among other i-site in the cities i visited). And had a city tour.

Just 3 minutes walk from the i-site, you can have a walk to government garden, Rotorua museum, and Tamaki Maori Village, and that’s how we squeeze that morning, not to mention 45 minutes shop in Koha (one of our souvenirs store in New Zealand).

Government garden is actually next to Rotorua Museum, and it’s a vast and beautiful. There are pools with duck, again – green grass 🙂 , trees and beautiful flowers. We lucky to walk it in the morning, since the sun was bright but the weather fairly cold with comforting wind breeze, and it smell freshness everywhere on the garden.

There we headed to the souvenir center named Koha. Having seen and observe souvenir from other city we can say that Koha offers fairly competitive price, some items found cheaper but not more than 2 NZD difference like key ring, bottle opener, T-Shirt, hat, etc. The store is quite big as well, you can find many if not all kinds of souvenirs.

After had a quite spending on Koha, we directly went to Rotorua I-site to catch our Bus to Napier (Rotorua i-Site happens to be Bus Terminal as well – in many other cities, you would find such an arrangement as well).

Rotorua to Napier travel time is about 4 hours, and it has 1 stoppage in Taupo around 12 am to have lunch and we had only 45 minutes for lunch. During the bus trip, i found my self drown in drowsiness while the scenery we pass was remarkable. It was kind of hard to choose to observe or to let my eyes rest one of conflict i must face during the trip. The bus driver, named George, was the first Intercity Bus Driver we found very friendly, helpful and informative. He gave comments along trip on places we passed by, give some brief history, politics, culture and social. It was a great trip from Rotorua to Napier.

From Paihia-Auckland- Rotorua, i had seen a quite homogenous view of vast flatlands with several low green hills and lots of cattle. Thing started different toward south, where the hills mount higher and stony, some afar from the main street where i saw it, and some closer to the main road that makes you feel flanked between them. Some this crystal clear river flow between the giant hills and the main road and its all march beautifully. When the plain are close to us, the giant green hills surround the plain wow us by the arrangement and the river that sometime flow makes you feel surreal. The most amazing pine wood that we encountered in that certain landscape also made such beautiful orderly manner array above those hills. My only regret was that i was unable to stop anywhere i like to just watch it and watch it little longer.

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After having quite an astonishment scenery watch, we finally arrived at Napier. We stayed at Archie’s Bunker ( http://www.archiesbunker.co.nz/ ), a quite nice stay. The receptionist was very friendly and helpful with great facility. After we checked in, we directly went to Napier I-site to grab map and explore the city.

The main reason we chose to go to Napier, because first, i thought we need a fine stopover before heading to wellington and reading from Lonely Planet, the city offers art deco atmosphere and has several signature buildings. This city was devastated by earthquake in 1931, and the construction effort was mainly affected by global art-deco influence.

As much as the style it incorporated, the art-deco spirit or atmosphere didn’t really met our expectation as we hoped to be somehow transported into 1930 style whatsoever. It was much of an ornament in each building – that has a modern today’s breath of atmosphere and design. Those unique car from 1930 wasn’t everywhere to be seen as well.

Well, it was quite a nice city, but it didn’t meet own expectation of the city experience we thought to have, but i got to say that some several main spot such the fountain and this beautiful open area, all in art-deco nuance are worth to witness. We took a walk by ourself, and focus on city central – not more than 2 km, probably that was why we did not capture the very essence of it. By the time we walked at 5 pm, almost all store are closed already.

We then had dinner at GMK ( http://www.masonic.co.nz/gmk-restaurant-napier/ ) – and i must say, this restaurant offers art-deco nuance more than overall city was, and it has superb fine dine taste. I had my first ravioli, and it tasted yummm :). That dinner, and our night walk was probably the one that made our day. Napier in the night is beautiful.

The Most

The Best Line “apakabar ?” i guess that’s the first we heard of local people talked to us in Indonesia. It was george saying after he asked us where are we from.
The Best Dinner so far GMK’s Ravioli
Best Driver so far George

Highlight and Tips

– Where to shop
In New Zealand, there are lots of souvenir stores. Some available local, and some has a network. Koha is one of souvenire store that available in several city. When we went to Rotorua Koha, they gave us 10% voucher for our next purchase in all Koha stores in New Zealand (Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown) . Oh by the way, Koha means ‘Gift’
– Kiwi Encounter
New Zealand most unique animal is Kiwi (which is also used internationally as ‘people from New Zealand, The usage is not offensive, being treated with pride and endearment as a uniquely recognisable term for the people of New Zealand – Ref: Wikipedia). And so many cities offer you kiwi encounter experience, whether it’s on the park along with other animals, or single Kiwi encounter center.
– Pee Control (forgive my language)
If you choose to travel by Bus (Note: Intercity and NakedBus doesn’t have toilet on it’s regular bus, but it has several stoppage to allow you to go to Toilet), where it can stop anywhere you like, you have to carefully consider your water intake and when to discharge. Coz with the most beautiful scenery around you, the last thing you want to have is pee torture.
So you need also to be careful if you are falling asleep and passed some important toilet stoppage.
– Commentary
In previous post, i’ve mentioned about commentary the bus driver had during the trip. and i want to talk more about that. The bus driver usually make a greeting after we set on our seat and the bus on the move. He/she usually introduce themselves, some of them say greetings in several languages (i guess his passanger checklist also accomodate where are his/her passanger coming from), where we about to go, stoppage along the way, toilet stop, passenger-pick-up stop, eat stop, etc.

And here’s our Itinerary, Thanks Rotorua and Napier for having Us !

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