We were greeted with the warmest welcome at Tim & Juliana’s. The hospitality we received was off the charts, so good that it would have topped Lonely Planet’s number one by a mile.
|Warm welcome to Tim & Juliana's|
For our readers planning a similar road trip, we broke the drive up from Wellington to Gisborne into 2 phases which worked out very well for us. Phase 1 was from Wellington to Napier which took us about 4 hours. Apart from a 7 km no passing, bendy drive on State Highway 3 (SH3) along the gorge from Palmerston North to Woodville which can be tricky in wet conditions, the journey to Napier was an easy and pleasant drive. It’s quite interesting too, stumbling upon the towns of Woodville and Dannevirk along the way.
For those into antique and vintage collectables, there are lots of antique / 2nd hand shops along the main stretch of Woodville. For the food junkies like us, there is Yummy Mummy – handmade cheesecakes that everyone must try. You can’t miss it as it’s just along the SH. They have an assortment of flavours and we went for the strawberry cheesecake. It was damn good.
|"Their cheesecakes damn good."|
Dannevirk is a real interesting one. Coming into Dannevirk, we were greeted by numerous Viking posters that puzzled us. It turns out that there is a large Scandinavian influence in the area, dating back to the 1870s. Early settlers from the Scandinavian nations, namely Denmark, Norway and Sweden built their homes around the area. Today, there are many Kiwis in the area that have Scandinavian ancestry.
The climate seemed cooler and wetter, as compared to Wellington. We heard that this was the way the early Scandinavian settlers liked it.
|"Is that a viking?"|
|"Why so many vikings?"|
|Scandinavian heritage was evident en-route to Napier.|
We arrived and stopped in Napier just in time for lunch. Napier is the next biggest city after Palmerston North en-route to Gisborne. Our first impression of Napier was that it was quite a touristy area. There were lots of tour buses and visitors. There also seems to be an unofficial dress code for Napier. The locals were quite well dressed for New Zealand standards. The atmosphere was quite “chi-chi” or “atas”, which is quite uncommon in New Zealand. Frankly, we did feel a bit underdressed with our flip flops and casual tees.
There are several Art Deco architecture around the city that would make every photographers focal point.
|Napier, art and deco capital of New Zealand.|
|Napier 60s theme|
The perfect stopover after the challenging drive was Morere Hot Springs, thanks to the hot tip from Tim. No better way to wind down from the endless windy roads than to soak oneself in a hot spring pool. It’s amazing how 30 min in the pool can rejuvenate the mind and body. “Feels like I just came out from a massage”, Gwyn.
|"Everyone should stop over at Morere Hot Springs after the Devil's Elbow and that long drive"|
|"Hot spring effect better than V"|
Re-energised, we made our way to Gisborne where we were met with the warmest of welcomes from Tim & Juliana. It proved to be the start of what would be a wonderful week.
For Gisborne Getaway Part II: Have bike will travel, click here.