Thursday, January 17, 2019

Napier & Rotorua

[Kyle]The next wind shift arrived with a lot of rain. That’s okay, we got to spend the day doing what boating is all about: fixing things.

I neglected to mention that our autopilot was acting funny the last few miles in. The problem turned out to be the rudder position sensor, which had finally given up. It’s a simple part, but getting it sent to us was a little difficult and replacing the damn thing was an all-day job, mostly because the wires have to be run through places where no human can go.

First sights - Napier - and the aquarium Little (blue) Penguins

The next morning, Maryanne was determined to have some actual fun. We walked across town to the National Aquarium, which was rather a disappointment. They were covered in Christmas themed decor for the kids, ostensibly to try to draw in some traffic. {Maryanne: I don’t mind a bit of Christmas cheer and decoration, but this is now way past Christmas! }. What they did was make the actual aquarium secondary to all of this nonsense. Many of the displays were blocked by annoying projected Santas. The lights for many of the signboards were off so they could plug in some twinkling lights. It was really bad. The penguins were cute, though. The Little Blues are actually a dark turquoise and they are adorable and curious, so at least there was that.

We followed up the Aquarium with a long, meandering walk through Napier’s Art Deco district, which made up for the disappointment of the aquarium. They had a devistating earthquake in 1931, which pretty much leveled the town. When they rebuilt, they decided to do a LOT of Art Deco, since that was the style of the time. Now they have more of it then New York and Santa Monica combined {Maryanne: According to the local tourist office, I’m not so sure!}.

Napier's Art Deco, gardens, and sculptures

We rented a car for day three, which we drove all of the way to the volcanic areas of Rotorua and Taupo. The highlight was probably Wai-o-tapu (Thermal wonderland). On the way we stopped at ‘Craters of the Moon’ in Taupo. For the record, they look nothing like the moon. There is foliage everywhere and the craters are all emitting gas. Neither of those things is happening on the moon. Still, the signs got us to stop. However Wai-o-tapu was like a mini Yellowstone, which is to say that it was pretty cool.

Visiting Huka Falls, Taupo, meant sharing the view with the crowds!

Craters of the Moon site - Taupo

Wai-O-Tapu/Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland, Rotoroua

Rotoroua town has a free thermal park also - complete with thermal foot baths

After anther day of installing our new rudder angle sensor, Maryanne was keen to go for a long walk into town and then return over the bluff that separates Napier and Uhuriri. The problem was that it was chucking it down with rain. Undeterred, we left anyway. {Maryanne: We’ve learned that if we wait for the rain to stop we may never do anything}.

Exploring Napier - wineries, trails and gardens (and other fun!)

It cleared up shortly thereafter and we actually had a rather pleasant day strolling through Napier’s nicer areas, including their beautiful botanic gardens. We were glad we had gone out after all.

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