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Tour of New Zealand South and North Islands by Mike Heins

Tour

Tour of New Zealand Later that evening we went out to visit some of Hazel’s friends who live 20 miles from the hotel. Saturday 11th Feb. Today we visited the local Saturday market, walked around the town; visited the cathedral where we listened to an orchestra practising for a concert. After some lunch we drove to the “World of Wearable Art “and “Classic Cars Museum”. This single facility is an iconic Nelson visitor attraction that celebrates two passions united by design. Amazing wearable works of art from the annual “WOW Awards Show” are displayed alongside one of Australasia's biggest private collections of rare, classic cars. Both Hazel and I were amazed by the wearable art and spent a significant time looking around. The car museum was good but no different to any other. Afterwards we drove to Mapua a small town on the coastline where we had a walk on the beach. Sunday 12 th Feb. Surely it can’t be 7.30 am already? Time to get moving as we are driving 77 miles to Blenheim today and there should be no need to rush. However by the time we had breakfast, packed the car and sorted out our route the time was 9.30. We set off to drive 66 miles to the “Allan Scott” winery and arrived at 11.45 (on time). At midday we had a tour of the winery followed by an excellent lunch in their restaurant accompanied by lots of nice wine although the drivers had to restrain themselves. After this it was a short drive to the hotel. No planned dinner today so we ate with friends in a pub in the town. Monday 13 th Feb. A coach picked us up from the hotel at 9.00 today and we were driven 19 miles to Marlborough Sounds where we boarded a boat to enjoy a trip around the natural beauty of the Marlborough Sounds. Initially it rained but luckily it brightened up although a strong wind persisted. We were treated to cooked salmon along with freshly caught and steamed mussels paired with a glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. A very enjoyable trip and we arrived back at the hotel late in the afternoon. We walked around the town before dinner at the hotel. Tuesday 14 th Feb. We were up at 6.00am this morning. Had a quick breakfast followed by final packing of the car and then drove 20 miles to the ferry terminal at Picton for our crossing to the North Island. We had to be there by 8.05 but did not board the ferry until 9.00. The crossing was calm and we arrived in the North Island at 12.30.Once off the ferry we drove around the outskirts of Wellington on our way to “Southward Car Museum” at Paraparaumu 32 miles away. A soon as we left the ferry we noticed how much more traffic there was on the roads compared to the South Island. The museum was vast and in spite of spending several hours there we only saw a small proportion of the exhibits. The museum has its own workshops where they restore cars. The area containing un-restored cars is vast and would make a good museum in its own right! We then drove north 87 miles to Whanganui on the west coast arriving at 17.45. Later in the evening Hazel and I had a valentine’s dinner in the hotel restaurant. Wednesday 15 th Feb. We spent most of the day walking around Whanganui. It was an interesting town with lots of historical things to see. That evening we joined the rest of our group for a trip along the Whanganui River on a paddle wheel steamer called “The Waimarie” which was built in 1898. Luckily the weather was warm and dry. A Jazz trio played for the duration of the trip and we were given delicious dinner on board accompanied by fine wine. No driving tonight so we were able to have a drink! The Waimarie Thursday 16 th Feb. Today we crossed from the west to the east coast of the North Island. We took a deviation from the suggested route so that we could call in and visit a Lagonda owner who lives at Palmerston North. The first part of the journey was 45 miles and required us to head south again to tour around Napier and nearby Hastings which we decided to go get to our friend’s house. The Sat Nav took us to their address without any issues and we spent a few hours admiring their house, garden and garage prior to enjoying a lunchtime meal. Fully refreshed we set off to complete the 144 mile journey to Napier in overcast conditions. As we got closer to Napier the weather deteriorated significantly and we spent the last half hour driving in the pouring rain with the hood down. There was no arranged meal tonight so we walked into the town with our umbrellas up and had a simple meal at McDonald’s before returning to the hotel bar.

Tour of New Zealand Friday 17 th Feb. It was still raining heavily when we woke up so we decided to put the hood up on the Lagonda. As the tonneau cover was soaking wet we left it to drip dry in the bath of our hotel room. The organisers had arranged a photo call with all our cars at 9.00 on the sea front which we attended in spite of the weather. After that there was a on. A number of our party dropped out which was a pity as they missed an excellent 2 course lunch which had been arranged part way round the route. The return journey was also wet. This weekend was the Art Deco festival and in the evening we dressed up in appropriate clothes and attended a function in the town’s theatre and enjoyed a variety of entertainment. Saturday 18 th Feb. This morning we dressed up again in our Art Deco outfits and drove 5 miles to the Vintage Car Club (VCC) club rooms just outside the town where we were provided with “tea and cakes” prior to setting off on a 45 mile tour in pouring rain. Mike & Hazel dressed for the Art Deco festival… We purchased drinks at the bar and were provided with a good selection of canapés. A number of other car clubs had been invited to the event. …a few drinks later. Before the big parade. The tour arrived back in Napier just before midday so we could take our place at the front of the Art Deco car parade through the streets. It was still raining so we had the roof up. In spite of the weather the parade through the town went ahead as planned and the streets were lined by a vast crowd in appropriate costumes with loads of umbrellas. As we drove past the crowd shouted and waved and everyone had a good time. In the evening we changed our attire so we could attend the “dress down” depression dinner. This was held in a marquee near the town centre and again a number of car organisations were present. The meal consisted of soup served in an enamel mug (which we were allowed to keep) followed by a stew and vegetable main course. A group of musicians played and there was a general “Sing Song” both during and after the meal .A very good night was had by all. Sunday 19 th Feb. Another early start today as our group had been invited to join the VCC at their club rooms for breakfast. Many other car clubs also attended. We had time to look round the “spares store” which contained an amazing array of old car parts (mostly American). The weather had improved by now and we managed to get some photographs of the all the Lagondas from our tour plus a couple of local cars. We had a free afternoon and spent time watching other Art Deco events in the town. In the evening we had a group dinner at New Zealand’s oldest winery founded in the 1850’s aptly named the “Mission” winery. We dined in its exquisite chapel. The meal was superb. Monday 20 th Feb. The organisers had arranged for us to collect packed lunches from the hotel before we set off on our drive to the next hotel at Taupo in the centre of the island. We had been informed there would be no cafes etc along the very twisty and mountainous route. After 48 miles, much to our surprise we found a large cafe by the side of the road. We pulled in only to find most of our group were already there having a break. So we joined them. 5 miles after we set off again, we came to some amazing waterfalls so pulled over and had our packed lunches whilst watching the water pour over the falls.

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