Here is my choice for this week’s Ruby Tuesday – and you can’t get much more ruby red than this … this is the Pohutukawa tree, which is known as the NZ Christmas Tree, as the trees are festooned with flowers in December. I couldn’t settle on just one photo, so you get a couple of close-ups and what the trees can look like overall … just LOVE the Pohutukawa trees!
Napier/Hastings … final part (photo heavy again)
Alas, Tuesday came far too quickly, and it was time to pack up again for the return drive home. We had a leisurely start to the day and didn’t leave the motel until 10am – we started of by driving to the Silky Oak Chocolate factory and museum, where we unexpectedly ended up spending a full two hours! Not only do they have a cafe serving great food (we ended up having brunch there), but they have a really interesting Museum all about the history of chocolate – it was fascinating, and definitely worth the visit! 😀
Afterwards we drove into Napier township for a visit to the information centre and a wee walk around the waterfront and streets to take some photos of some of the Art Deco buildings – we enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn’t end up leaving Napier itself until 3pm … oops! 😉
One of my fave sculptures – “Pania of the Reef“
Napier waterfront gardens, with Pohutukawa trees in bloom
If any of you are interested in Art Deco building styles, here is a selection for you. For those of you who aren’t aware, Napier CBD was flattened by a devastating earthquake in 1931, and all of the buildings were rebuilt during the same era, giving Napier the reputation of being the capital of Art Deco architecture due to having so many buildings of that style in such a small area.
We finished off our trip to Napier by stopping at a couple of fruit sellers stalls to stock up on beautiful fresh produce. That’s one thing I really love about NZ, there are plenty of local growers selling their fresh produce – and their quality and flavour is far superior to anything you can buy in the supermarkets. My special treats over the couple of days away (as we bought some other fruit the previous day) were fresh strawberries (to die for!), apricots (one of my all-time fave fresh fruits), boysenberries (can’t remember the last time I saw them fresh since moving to Oz), blueberries, and black cherries … oh boy, I’m drooling again just remembering them!!! Sheer heaven – I ADORE summer fruits 😀
We finished off our gourmet couple of days with dinner in Taupo, at the Waterside Restaurant & Bar – here the food was blissful and the service great … yet again, here are the gourmet delights we troughed through:
Lamb Fillet with asparagus, with Greek Tsatziki & balsamic jus for me – drool
Looking back, one of the other things that brought a smile to my face and a lump to my throat was to see all the Pohutukawa trees in bloom – these are affectionately known as the “New Zealand Christmas tree”, and their red bloom is a real delight to behold. Tales say that if the trees bloom before Christmas, we will be in for a long hot summer … personally I just love to see their blooms colouring the skyline.
Other things that I loved being in NZ, was that you can buy L&P everywhere you turn your head … even at the humble pie cart in an outdoor market – ah bliss 😉
It was great to see the Auckland icon, the Auckland Sky Tower, with its impressive bulk shadowing over the CBD.
And not to mention the vast lush “green-ness” of the countryside – unfortunately I didn’t get a great photo of it as it started to cloud over on the way home from Napier, and then rained off and on the entire way home to Auckland 😦
But one of my biggest treats was to spend a week in the warmth of Mum’s Christmas tree – her tree has brought delight to my soul for as long as I can remember, and I made sure my final night in Auckland was spent huddled in the lounge with the warm glow of the Christmas lights … and a rare night of familial bliss as we all sat and watched the Christmas in the Park show on TV, followed by an hour of Aussie and Kiwi stand-up comics … what a great way to finish off a great holiday! 😀
I have come home with many beautiful gifts – but no photos yet as they were bought using Christmas money, so they’re wrapped up under the tree … I’ll share photos after Christmas. What I can share, though, is the wonderful treat from Mum – a set of Prairie Schooler Santa ornies … I just adore these, and will treasure them always! Thanks so much Mum, you’re a sweetheart! 😀