Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Family Week End @ Napier

Family outing is very important to us, due to our busy schedules and May-N (our eldest daughter) working in London; do not make it any easier to have a short quality time together.

Last week end, since she is back in Wellington for a short break; we head for Napier to spend our week end together. The last time our family were holidaying together was in April last year, we had a great time in London, Rome and Paris :)

This time round our trip is much shorter and a lot nearer ;)

According to Wikipedia...

Napier (called Ahuriri in the Māori language) is a New Zealand city with a seaport, located in Hawke's Bay on the eastern coast of the North Island. The population of Napier is about 58,600 as of the June 2010 estimate.

 Napier is about 320 kilometres northeast of the capital city of Wellington.

 I estimated a leisure 5 hour drive (including lunch stop) over the Rimutaka Range will get us there.

I never fancy driving up the Rimutakas, take a look at the video grab below :)
Part of the Rimutakas road are line with wooden stakes and wire!
Yes, hard to believe but true; part of the road on the highest part of the range are only line with "wooden stakes" and wires, as if they are gonna stop your out of control car going down 100 meters  into the ravine!

It was like that in 1988 and still the same now ;)

After lunch May-N took over driving, how time flies; she is a much better driver than me :)

We reached Napier at 2.15 pm and check into Navigate Seaside Accommodation.

We had a family room for NZ$200.00 a night.

Nice spacious family room plus two single beds in a separate bedroom.
At the corner of the room there is a balcony with a lockable big sliding glass door, when the door is closed; the huge glass panel next to the door is invisible and one of us bump right into the glass!

Clear and Present Danger! Can you see the glass panel on the right side of the locked door?
I can see that this is a potential disaster waiting to happen, especially excited running children who might just crash through the invisible glass wall!

I did made a long comment in the hotel guest comment card, I hope they rectify the problem. It can be as simple as covering the bottom part of the glass panel with a translucent film.
Le General at the hotel's veranda.
** Latest... Received an email from the Property Manager of Navigate today (16 Nov)

"Dear Mr Leow,

Thank you for choosing Navigate for your stay in Napier and also for taking the time to complete the Guest Comment Card. Your feedback has prompted me to look at a strip to put on the slider window to avoid any mishaps. I am pleased to read that you enjoyed your visit to Napier and most importantly that your accommodation met your expectations."

I am impressed! Great service :)

Wikipedia inform me that...

Napier is a popular tourist city, with a unique concentration of 1930s Art Deco architecture.

Thousands of people flock to Napier every February for the Art Deco Weekend event, a celebration of its Art Deco heritage and history.

Other notable tourist events attracting many outsiders include the region's annual Wine & Food Festival (named Harvest Hawke's Bay), and Mission Concert at the Mission Estate Winery in the nearby township of Taradale.

We took a walk around the city, the ladies looking for shops and I for Art Deco architectures.
The Daily Telegraph building in Napier.

The Daily Telegraph Building is considered to be one of Napier's classic Art Deco buildings. It is the third Daily Telegraph building to be built in Napier. The Daily Telegraph newspaper was established in February 1871.  

Hawke's Bay Today - local paper
Most of the shops are closed for the week end in Napier.
Sunday morning coming down... Lone cyclist at the shopping area.

Even coffee shop in Napier are arty ;)
The Public Trust Office, Napier. The firm of Hyland and Philips designed the Public Trust Office in a stripped classical style. It was completed in 1922 but was repaired and strengthened in 1931 after the earthquake.

Napier Municipal Theatre.
According to the Napier City Council web site...

The Napier Municipal Theatre's unique Art Deco heritage has been preserved with the skillful addition of modern theatre facilities making it the best provincial performing arts centre in the nation. The theatre is a model of architectural beauty and Art Deco style and its stage has been graced with international acts and local performers alike.

The theatre has a seating capacity of 993. The stunning auditorium is available for hire for everything from stage productions to corporate launches.

The circular Pan Pac foyer offers yet another stunning environment in which to entertain, exhibit, conference or simply hold an unforgettable function.

Seating 300 theatre-style or 80 banquet-style this attractive foyer is an ideal small entertainment venue complete with full bar servery facilities.

The Pan Pac foyer is also home to the Napier agency of Ticketek and TicketDirect two of New Zealand's largest ticket booking agencies.

Our hotel is right on the foreshore area of Spriggs Park, we had a stroll along the beach; the Park is Napier's playground.

Mega buck sea front property in Napier, opposite Spriggs Park.
Mega buck automobile parked at Spriggs Park foreshore.
Smile! You Are On Candid Camera!
The "black" sand beach at Spriggs Park, Penangites probably wonder what the fuss is all about ;)
Ahh.. what was it like to be young again?

Most of New Zealand beaches look like this, you either love it or loath it ;)
There are two more attractions we are going to visit before driving back to Wellington.

Te Mata Peak which is behind Havelock North, gives a 360° views of Hawke’s Bay. Rising 399m above sea level, the peak is steeped in Maori legend.

The peak also provides prime sites for hang gliding and paragliding, mountain biking and road cycling, abseiling, orienteering and Nordic walking.
The Clean Green New Zealand landscapes!
The worn "Danger Keep Off!" sign, it is a mighty deep drop after the sign!!
On a clear day you can see forever..
Last stop, food glorious food at the Black Barn Vineyard's prize winning bistro! It was named "Cuisine NZ Winery Restaurant Of The Year 2011".

The Black Barn Vineyard
The simple bistro with a view of the vineyard.
May and Ming at our table, look at all the wine glasses! Alas, we don't drink :)
Le General under the yum yum tree, I mean FIG tree :)
So what did we have for lunch?  Well for starters, we shared...
Crispy Local Whitebait with potato and thyme.  “Humminghill” organic egg frittata, gremolata dressing; chargrilled lime.    $23.00
Pressed Free Range Duck and Pork Terrine scented with orange and ginger pistachio and sage
Braeburn apple and herb chutney     $19.00
Our mains...

May-N and Le General had:

Twice Cooked Free Range Pork Belly
pear and apple syrup glaze
chilli pineapple salsa
sesame bok choy
kumara and ginger mash
asian broth
Ming-N choosed:

Spatchcock Poussin
barbecue tamarind marinated
coriander, cashew, radish “slaw”
kaffir lime scented glass noodles
rock sugar dressing
I went for New Zealand lamb!

Hawkes Bay Lamb Shortloin
rubbed with Orcona paprika
smoked beetroot
spinach and Hohepa ricotta dumplings
lamb broth
Our lunch bill (plus 4 fruity drinks and GST) came to NZ$ 238.00, I can hear our Malaysian friend's chin drop ;) that amount is equivalent  to RM 580.00!!

That amount, in Malaysia; is 1/3 monthly average pay for millions of wage earners!

Have you not notice we were the only Asian dinners there? Ha ha ha...

How was the taste?

Each of the offering have their own very distinct flavor which is quite subtle, not over powering like Chinese cooking. I suppose "Fine Dinning" is an acquired taste ;) 

Our main took one hour to arrive, I think that is pushing "a relaxing lunch" a bit too far!

All in all, we all had a very enjoyable week end.

The drive back was pleasant, May-N made my Lancer VRX Sportsback did all the work; the cruise control is performing very well, but that is another story ;)

I look forward to our next family outing!!


heather said...

The Rimutaka hill road shot brings back bad memories of me having to take photos out of a speeding car!.. I guess it would be hard for you to stop there to take a photo. I love Napier. It`s such a pretty little city. It almost looks as if time stood still with all the art deco buildings.The food looks nice, even though it is a tad expensive.Nice photos.

Anonymous said...

Those hills look so green for Hawkes bay give it a month or two of summer and they will be very brown!