Time for a short holiday

If you read last Thursday’s post, you will have seen that we recently took a short trip up to Napier in Hawke’s Bay. The city was rebuilt after a devastating 7.8 earthquake in February 1931, when nearly all buildings in the central areas of Napier and nearby Hastings were levelled. I’ve posted pictures before of the city centre, but here are a couple more.

A picture of the area near the hotel we stayed in taken after the earthquake

The weather on Wednesday was a huge improvement from Tuesday, so we made the most of it and took a walk along the coast to The National Aquarium. It was lovely to get fresh air and a bit of exercise after two days in a car.

Walking along the waterfront

The aquarium is well worth a visit if you are in the region. We had been before, and enjoyed our return visit. On the left below you can see two native little blue penguins, enjoying the fresh water gushing from the pipe. You can see these penguins in and around Wellington too, but I have only ever managed to see them in zoos (see the story from last year of penguins in the city). I love seahorses, and managed to get a picture of this one below.

From there we headed back to town, stopping at the Sunken Gardens which were opened in 1969. Lots of finds from the earthquake were made during the creation of the gardens, so there is some history there as well as a lovely spot to sit. Nearby is the MTG Hawke’s Bay an award-winning museum and theatre space, with its excellent permanent exhibition in the basement about the earthquake, local history on the ground floor and changing exhibitions upstairs.

Sunken Gardens

There is no shortage of places to eat in Napier. We had breakfast each day at Cappadonna, a cafe on Emerson Street, and enjoyed lunch on Wednesday at Ajuna Eatery, where I enjoyed a really lovely Turkish bread sandwich and Karl a BLT. We had dinner on Monday evening at Bistronomy, a Cuisine magazine one hat holder, where we had some really lovely food. We enjoyed breads with chicken parfait, lemon horopito butter (which was wonderful) and olive oil to start, then I had the Jerusalem artichoke risotto with toasted walnuts, artichoke chips and walnut oil, while Karl opted for the beef cheek and pancetta Wellington. The food was lovely and service excellent. After our wine tour, we really felt like pasta, so headed to Trattoria alla Toscano for a lasagna for Karl and ravioli with ricotta and spinach, topped with a sage infused  burnt butter. Quite lovely.

Risotto, ravioli and lunch time sandwich

We drove back up to Wellington on Thursday, pulling over to let a house past on the road (!) and spotting one of the wild feral goats in the Remutaka Hills. It was a lovely if short trip, but definitely revived us after weeks of lockdown and getting back to work.

Clive Square in Napier with the Carillon, erected in 1974

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


  1. Wow this is wonderful. Thank you for bringing this a bit about the history is great. Hope you have a great time I’m sure you are. The food looks beautiful and I’m sure it taste absolutely gorgeous too. 🙂 Unfortunately I sit here in a gloomy Nottingham UK fine rain coming down got this for the rest of the week. However I’ve got jobs in the house that need doing that’s what I’ve been doing. At the moment I’m sitting down to my lunch right now. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The day before yesterday, Clif drank a can of beer that featured New Zealand penguins. The beer is called Coriolis Effect, and it is made with New Zealand hops. First time Clif and I had ever heard of New Zealand penguins. And then, along comes your post. Funny old world, isn’t it? By the by, Clif really liked the beer. Two thumbs up for New Zealand hops.

    Liked by 1 person

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