Friday, March 13, 2020

New Zealand Road Trip: Thermal Explorer Highway Scenes and Picnic at Bluff Hill in Napier

Bluff Hill, Napier
Hawkes Bay Region, New Zealand
Travel Period: May 2018

As we continue on our road trip, the journey took us from Auckland to Rotorua where we visited the Whakarewarewa living Maori village, we checked out the Night Market in town and went for a lovely mud bath spa. We camped the night in Lake Okareka and were greeted with a stunning view of the lake for our morning breakfast. Then we travelled to Lake Taupo but decided not to stay there longer.

So we are back on the road. Our goal is to reach Napier where we will have our very late lunch. We will probably picnic somewhere as we do not have time to go to a restaurant. We are pressed with time here as we need to reach Castlepoint for our next camp base.

Our late picnic lunch in Napier.

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Because my sister is driving, Myrhh and I take turns with the seating arrangement. We realised that the middle seat in front is not really comfortable for longer drives, so we decided that the third person will have to sit at the back. So we took turns doing this from Lake Taupo to Napier and then to Castlepoint.

Lake Taupo to Napier is approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes, or let's just say 2 hours. The highway is a 2-lane but isn't busy. A slight build-up only happens when you are passing town.

Below you will see some of the pictures I took along the Thermal Explorer Highway from Lake Taupo to Napier in Hawke's Bay.

A lovely sight to see sheep grazing.

We drove through mountains, hills, and valleys. We will be driving out of Waikato region to Hawke's Bay region.

Many of the hills have beautiful corrugated formation.

We are now in Hawke's Bay as we are seeing vineyard estates. Hawke's Bay is known as the wine country of North Island.

I find all these traditional board advertisements on the road really charming.

We have arrived in Napier!

Napier is a coastal town on Hawke's Bay and it has its own yacht marina and seaport. We were looking for a place with a view to having our picnic lunch. Earlier, we found online a cool spot on the hill called the Bluff Hill Domain which overlooks the commercial pier and the town's shoreline.

The hill was quite easy to find and before we knew it we were climbing and seeing lovely views and nice properties on the hillside. I thought it wouldn't be bad to live here.

Arriving in Bluff Hill Domain.

The hill looks down to the town's seaport.

From the hill, we can see the bay's shoreline.

These houses on the hill have a great view of the bay's shoreline and the surrounding areas.

So I quickly got to work and made our very late lunch. I am making salad greens with cheese, dried sausage, boiled egg, macadamia nuts, persimmon fruit, and bread. I had some white wine give to me by Dolly as I am not driving.

For this road trip, I am the official cook. So I prepare all our breakfasts, lunches and sometimes dinner. We try to eat dinner at a restaurant or buy food. My sister is the driver of course. Then Myrhh does the dishes and cleaning. We're all good in the division of labour.

Late lunch on top of the hill in Napier. It was windy up there!

I actually prefer to eat my salad without dressing. Sometimes I sprinkle a bit of extra virgin olive oil, some ground pepper and a bit of salt. Voila.

Bluff Hill Domain.

After our very late lunch, we stayed a bit and explored the area. We spent time checking out the scenes at the pier below.

The hill is actually a park and we saw a number of locals walking around, some were having a relaxing time sitting on the benches and there were others who stayed in their cars watching the view to the bay. It's a great place, a romantic spot I have to say and well maintained with facilities.

The park has some nooks where lovers can sit and watch the views.

It is getting late now and we still have 3.5 hours to drive to get to Castlepoint! So see you there.

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