s/y Nine of Cups
Back to the North Island, New Zealand
April - May 2010
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Wonderful, Windy Wellington - 41S17.35 / 174E47.07
A quick refresher map to show you where
Wellington is and where we're heading.
New Zealand Birds
North Island 2009
South Island
Marlborough Sounds
A wild, windy trip and we arrived in NZ's capital
city of Wellington and tied up at Chaffer's
Marina, right downtown at the center of this
vibrant, delightful city.
Read our blog for daily accounts of life aboard
and details of the trip getting from the South
Island to the North Island across the infamous
Cook Strait.
Wellington City is just beautiful. There's
something to see every place you look. We
can't believe we almost left New Zealand
without a visit here.  Above, Kupe,
legendary Maori explorer, and his wife first
sight Aotearoa (New Zealand), Land of the
Long White Cloud.
The Taranaki Street Wharf and lagoon
reclaimed wetlands and  renovated old wharf
sheds and is connected to the city by
pedestrian bridges. Cool!
Sculptures abound...like this one "Solace in
the Wind" on the quayside.
Beautiful Civic Square is home to the Public
Library, the City Gallery, the Tourist Info
Center and much more.
The view from Kilbourn, at the end of the cable
car line was exceptional. We could barely
make out the masts at Chaffers Marina.
A "must-do" in Wellington is the cable car. We
rode up and took a well-marked path back
down to the city through the Botanic Gardens.
Above, the odd and controversial architecture
of the Beehive and government buildings of
There are parks and reminders of New
Zealand's colorful heritage throughout the city.
Above, Te Aho a Maui (Maui's Line), the
meeting of land and sea.
Though late in the season, the Botanic Gardens
were most pleasant. Above, a view of an
acclaimed Rose Garden below with a few
hardy roses still in bloom.
Our path downhill ran through the Memorial
Park, nearly as old as the city, its gravestones
telling tales of tragedy, valor and history.
Bungy jumping was born here in NZ. There's
a bungy jump right downtown on one of the
main streets. $40/pp. Nope, we didn't!
Many old buildings have been beautifully
preserved including the Opera House c. 1913.
Without a doubt, one of the most impressive
places we visited in Wellington, or in New
Zealand for that matter, was the TePapa
Museum, the foremost museum in New
Zealand. We found it positively incredible.
We made three separate trips to TePapa
(admission is free/donation only). In addition
to natural history, cultural history, excellent
interactive displays and so much more, the
Maori section included an actual full scale
reconstructed meeting place (Te Hau ki
Turanga) dating from 1842. There was also
a full size waka (canoe)and a typical hut.
The intricacy and detail of the carvings for
this meeting place, Te Hono ki Hawaiki,
was incredible and represents the link with
the Maori's ancestral homelands in Polynesia.
Another sculpture along the waterfront...it
became a game to spot these around town.
Napier - 39S29.02 / 176E53.52
The short  200-mile, 2-night passage from
Wellington to Napier wasn't all rainbows. Big
winds and waves made for a bumpy, lumpy
trip for the first half. Once out of the Cook
Strait and past Cape Palliser, around NZ's
southeast corner, things lightened up.
Te Papa first opened its doors in 1998 and
quickly became the country's pride and joy.
It's affectionately called "Our Place".
Wellington's harbour was formed by the
flooding of a huge valley. An earthquake
pushed up the Miramar Peninsula in 1460.
The entrance to the Napier Harbour was quite narrow and shallow in parts, but the range markers
kept us in the channel. The Napier Sailing Club were our friendly hosts.
The Sailing Club/Marina offered about 100
berths.We, however, were berthed against the
wharf just off the clubhouse and everyone who
walked by, stopped to chat and say hello. At a
book swap, we had picked up a copy of
"Napier's Art Deco Walk", a self-guided walk
through town identifying all the buildings,
statues, structures and providing information
about them and their history. We were about
to put the booklet to good use.
Pania of the Reef is a bronze statue in
recognition of the Maori legend of
Pania who was lured to the sea by
siren voices and was transformed into a
the reef in Hawkes Bay.
On February 3, 1931, an earthquake (7.8
magnitude) devastated central Napier and
many surrounding towns. Those buildings
which survived the tremors, were destroyed by
subsequent fires. 157 people lost their lives.
The downtown area was lively and
colorful in keeping with the Art Deco
theme of the entire city.
What exactly is Art Deco?  Interesting
that you should ask. We were certainly
curious. Art Deco is the name given to the
decorative style which burst on the world at
the Intl Expo of Modern Decorative and
Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925. It
symbolized the new spirit of the 20th
century...a period characterized by scientific
and technological development, increasing
independence of women and the overthrow
of old conventions...the epitome of the Jazz
Age. These new beliefs were embodied in
favorite motifs, primarily geometric using
angular patterns and shapes, symbols of
power and speed (e.g. lightening bolts),
symbols of freedom (leaping deer, dancing
women) and most common, the rising sun.
Architecturally, Frank Lloyd Wright was a
great influence and so along with Art Deco,
we saw Spanish Mission and Prairie style.
Instead of throwing up new buildings haphazardly
after the disaster, the town fathers thoughtfully put
together a rebuilding plan which included under-
ground power and telephone lines and well laid
out streets. Within 2 years the city center was
rebuilt and much of it remains today.
The Municipal Theatre was actually quite grand.
Throughout the town, plaques and info placards
showed pictures of the pre and post earthquake
The colonnade and the park associated with it
are Napier's memorial to the earthquake, its
victims and the tenacity and courage of its citizens.
Check out the monster peeking over the
roof of the local museum.
Dedicated to NZ's #1 pest, we took a quick
sidetrip tour of Opossum World. Possum fur,
combined with merino wool, is used in lots of
clothing and woven items in NZ.
Gisborne - 38S40.22 / 178E01.75
The "plan" was to stay in Napier
for a few days and then head north.
The weather forecast, however,
called for one day of "variables"
before strong northerlies moved in.
We took advantage of the one day
lull and moved 100 miles further
north to Gisborne, the eastern most
city in the world...
first to see the
...according to the local travel
Leaving Napier, we transited beautiful Hawke's Bay.
Eastland Port Marina was a bargain at $100/week.
At the confluence of three rivers, Gisborne is also called the "Bridge City" for the
number of bridges across the rivers. It's also known for its fine chardonay wines.
Captain Cook first stepped ashore in New
Zealand here at Kaiti Beach in 1769
East Cape Road Trip
Northerly winds were forecast for several days. We did a few chores aboard "Cups" and then did the only reasonable thing we could do under the
circumstances ... Road Trip! Our friends, Brit & Axel were putting "Hello World" on a freighter and heading back to Germany. They were berthed at
Tauranga, ~300km north on the Bay of Plenty. Local info gave us a scenic circuit route to follow and we were off.  We headed to Tauranga (off the
map) over Rte 2 through the Waioeka Gorge Scenic Reserve, NZ's largest scenic reserve. It poured all the way so the sights were somewhat diminished.
We stopped for coffee in Opotiki then headed to Tauranga for a pleasant reunion /farewell dinner with Hello World. We managed yet another sail
repair/modification  while in Tauranga and  breakfast with our Canadian friends on "Azzar". Then we headed back to the East Cape.
Logging trucks (usually double trailer) are a
common sight here...even their own 800#.
Driving in New Zealand...

David's done a stellar job so far,
driving in New Zealand (read
that...no crashes, no dents). We
have, however, noted some
significant differences in driving
here vs. the USA other than the
obvious...driving on the left-hand
side of the road.
*A plethora of roundabouts
(rotaries) and less traffic lights
*One-lane bridges are common
*Most secondary roads are
particularly curvy with lots of
sharp turns and switchbacks
*Though left lanedrive, a left
hand turn yields to a right hand
turn. (Hmm!)
The traffic sign above could potentially be confusing to
a non-Kiwi driver. Things like turn signals and wipers
are opposite of a US car, so initially we indicated right
hand turns with our windshield wipers going.
We had car trouble and had to
return to Tauranga for repairs and
finally headed out late in the
afternoon. Then we noticed we
had forgotten our backpack at
the repair shop and had to return
the next morning to recoup it.
FINALLY...we were back in
Opotiki at the start of the Pacific
Coast Highway (Rte 35) Scenic
drive. Without a doubt, it was
worth the aggravation.
In Te Puke, kiwi fruit capital of the world, we
saw a giant kiwi.
The scenery alternated between farmlands and
ocean views. Mt. Edgecombe above
Opotiki's town center
A view of the East Cape in the distance  from TeKaha
This signpost in Te Aroroa indicated
that Washington, DC and the North
Pole are both about 14,000km away.
Luckily, East Cape was only 17km
so we headed there.
The East Cape Lighthouse (37S41.5 / 178E32.9)
was erected in 1900 on East Island just off the
coast and later moved to the mainland on the tip
of the East Cape. It will be interesting seeing it
from our perspective at sea when we pass by in a
few days on our way north. Capes make for
notoriously challenging sailing conditions.
East Cape Lighthouse was manned until 1985
when it became fully automated and monitored
by Maritime NZ in Wellington.
The gravel road heading to East Cape hugs the
shoreline and passes over rolling hills studded
with grazing livestock and golden cornfields.
A carved Maori gateway entering the
elementary school in Torere.
A century old Anglican church sits on a rocky
promontory in Raukokore.
A sign on the church door explained
the funny odor
Kiwifruit aka Chinese gooseberry (yang tao), grows on a vine and is native to China's Chang Kiang
Valley. Seeds were first brought to NZ in 1906.  Zespri is the trademarked name of NZ kiwifruit to
distinguish it from fruit produced elsewhere in the world.  So...who's the world's #1 producer of
kiwifruit? Nope, not NZ...NZ is #2. Italy is #1 (who'd thunk it?)
The scene is pastoral. Sheep and cattle grazing
contentedly. Here the road to the lighthouse
passes through a sheep pasture on its way up via
700+ steps to the lighthouse.
An East Cape traffic jam as a NZ cowboy herds cattle down the middle of the
road with the help of his trusty herding dogs.
St. Mary's church in Tikitiki is considered one of
the finest Maori churches in NZ with intricate
Maori carvings inside and out.
The interior has lavish carvings throughout...
ceilings, pews, nave, altar, pulpit. Even the stained
glass windows contain Maori traditional design.
Tutktuku, woven panels
in unique designs, cover
the walls of the church
We saw a tremendous amount of birds on this trip especially wild turkeys...herds of them!
Additionally, we spotted a ring-necked pheasant, lots of harrier hawks, a sacred kingfisher
and beaucoup black swans among others. Check out the
New Zealand bird page for pix.
Not far from Gisborne (55km), we walked to the
end of the decrepit, but "world-famous" Tolaga
Bay Wharf which reaches out into the Pacific
some 660M.
The trip back to Opua around East Cape
was easier than expected. Waters were
calm when we rounded the Cape, but the
winds just wouldn't cooperate. We easily
made our way north, but westerly mileage
to Opua was difficult. In the end, the
passage was longer than anticipated by a
day as we sailed an extra 100 miles north
and then tacked back to Opua. It was like
coming home as we entered the Bay of
Islands. We were familiar with the
landmarks and the route. We arrived
around 0100 so dropped the hook just off
Russell in an easy-access anchorage, then
headed to the Opua anchorage next AM.
Sailing past the Opua Wharf on the way to the
anchorage was like "coming home".
Oops! Plans to leave for Fiji are on hold. If you follow our blog, you'll realize that plans have changed
dramatically. "Cups" is on a mooring in Opua, NZ and the crew is in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA for several
months. Oh  my...just how far from the sea can you get?  
Find out by clicking here. Because even in the
desert, there's lots to explore! Don't be shy...come along!
More New Zealand?