10 July 2014

Lone Star restaurant and Art Deco accommodation


Opposite the Sound Shell is Emmerson Street - the main street of Napier.  A predominantly pedestrian zone with a little one-way traffic, it stretches from a public green space called Clive Square at the farthest end to it's head which on either side are a couple of historic eating and accommodation establishments - the Masonic and Lone Star (pictured).

A walk through the centre of town will take you passed art deco architecture a-plenty if you look for it.  The Art Deco Trust offer a (paid) guided walk or you can do it yourself using a booklet (available from the I-site).

The street signs featuring a white art deco font on black may look in keeping with the celebrated period but are a nightmare for drivers as they are not clear and easily read.


Napier I-site (visitor information centre)


Continuing along Marine Parade there is the Napier I-site.  More than just a visitor information centre with good views, they also have bathroom facilities including showers.

In the background you can also see the Par 2 mini golf course.



Here is as good a place to mention that all along Marine Parade on the seaward side of these places, there is a wide pathway for walkers, joggers, cyclists, movers and shakers alike. In many parts there are grassed areas as well, so you can stop and sit a while.

Hawke's Bay
03 July 2014


Marine Parade is a strip of road and green space along the waterfront of Napier which has been developed with thought and incredible benefit to the community.  It reaches from the south side of the port to Awatoto at it's southern end; and takes in the views up to the Mahia Peninsula and down to Cape Kidnappers.

In the spirit of being a tourist in our own backyard we stopped to focus on what is there (taking photos is a great catalyst for that) starting at the northern end.

The fountain (above) is rather iconic, featuring on many a postcard, lit up in it's array of colours at night.  During the day you might see people picnicking around it's perimeter and even the occasional child with their clothes hoisted up to their knees wading in the fountain,

Right next to that is another icon - the bronze statue of Pania on the Reef.



You look from here along a long lush grass stretch towards the Sound Shell - an entertainment platform that is used for public events, at one end of an open courtyard.



On the left in a colonnade, hangs the Veronica Bell once per year for the Art Deco celebrations but is marked year-round by a couple of plaques and a gorgeous spherical sculpture (which I would love to have in our front yard!).



Directly opposite on the road-side of the courtyard is the commanding New Napier Arch - a testament to the courage of it's people struggling with rebuilding their lives, homes, and society after the earthquake of 1931.



All these places are great for sitting, eating, walking or running around, staring out to sea and generally just hanging out.



The area also makes for a very effective back-drop to Art Deco celebrations in February each year - the long lunch in particular which stretches from the Tom Parker fountain right down to the Sound shell court-yard.



Hawke's Bay
26 June 2014


When we set out today it wasn't fantastic weather where we are, but knowing it was a bit of drive and with a couple of stores to go to (indoors anyway) thought we'd chance it wasn't any worse in Napier.  By the time we arrived it hadn't cleared, was still overcast and wettish.

Not to be deterred we swung by the Napier Centennial Gardens, a bit of a hidden gem and so very near to the town centre.

It started as a limestone quarry cut into the side of Bluff Hill, laboured by prisoners, and has now been transformed into a lush green space with man-made waterfall (aided by a pumping station) with pond.



This place is excellent for a picnic and has a few bench seats throughout.  It isn't however fenced in any way, either from the road or from the water, so you will need to watch small children.

We weren't with pram in tow so can't vouch for accessibility even though the information suggests that there is suitable wheelchair access to the main track from the lower carpark (which was incidentally closed when we visited).



I can imagine that in the warmer months the place springs to life with colourful flowers; and more importantly sunshine.

Regardless we enjoyed our uninterrupted lunch together, entertained by the 4 ducks, before setting off to explore again.

Hawke's Bay