Art Deco 2016 (Part 1: the Touristy Bits and Roadtrip)

It has been remarkably easy to get into a rhythm of sewing and blogging, the words come very easily for the most part – but now for something completely different – my first travel entry! Admittedly not featuring the most far off and exotic destinations; Taupo, Wellington and Napier, but they are all very dear to me and besides I love a good road trip! I was lucky enough to borrow a fancy camera, so mostly I just want to share some of my amateur photos because I’m rather thrilled with how well some of them came out!

I had a 10 minute crash course on the basic manual settings for the canon 700D (I was most interested in how to use the aperture settings to create short depth of field) and was then set loose with it for an eleven day whirlwind trip around the North Island of NZ including a week in Napier for the famous Art Deco Festival.

I started with the drive from Auckland to Wellington – a significant days drive even without my constant stopping for swims, ice creams, op shopping and photos. It took me 12 hours in the end, but I hope you’ll agree the photo stops were justified!

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A shag in Lake Taupo
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Mount Ngauruhoe through heather on the Desert Road
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Mount Ruapehu from the Desert Road
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Evening at Otaihanga looking towards Kapiti Island over the Waikanae river
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Evening in Otaihanga Domain

I arrived in Wellington as the sun went down, the first time I had driven so far on my own, I was worn out – but in a wonderful way. Living in Auckland it is easy to forget just how ruggedly handsome and breathtakingly beautiful NZ is, it’s always such a thrill to leave behind the clogged up city.

Wellington is different.

It is windswept and concise.

It is also home to one of my favourite people, who just happens to be an incredibly talented photographer – we had great fun playing with night time photography in the Botanic gardens. It became a spontaneous photoshoot for the Kimono I made recently – read the full post about making it here.

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Not just a talented photographer – a stunning model too!
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Doing my best impression of an Art Deco lamp

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My visit to Wellington was over in a haze of happiness, next stop Napier!

I arrived earlier for Art Deco than I ever had before, eager to make the most of festivities, but also eager to explore some more of the local area. In reality I had far higher expectations of how much I could pack into my week and only managed one tourist destination before being completely distracted and enthralled by the Deco celebrations.

That one touristy spot was Cape Kidnappers, home of one of the very few mainland Gannet colonies. Access is on foot along the beach, and is only safe at low tide. I knew low tide was early on the day I had chosen to walk it, but that didn’t stop me staying out the night before.

I woke at 5.30 am, aware that even that wasn’t really early enough. I’m very rarely up before dawn so I don’t see many sunrises, but I suspect that this was a particularly beautiful one. Napier faces East with nothing but ocean to the horizon; a perfect blank canvas for the opening rays of the day.

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The start of the walk out to Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony

I arrived at the start of the walk just as the light was growing brighter and still unsure of whether I was embarking on a 4hour or 6hour return journey (reports on the internet varied). Low tide was 7.30am, I was starting the walk at 6am, that meant I HAD to do it in 4 hours or risk being swept out to sea! Nothing like the threat of drowning to get you moving! I admit I did spend a significant portion of the outgoing journey trying to choose which I would prefer if the tide did come in – would I rather be drowned, or walk to close to the cliff edge (signs warn against this) and be crushed by falling rock? I decided on crushed by rock – but obviously it didn’t come to that!

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First glimpse of a Gannet, the colony itself is right out at the point of the headland.
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Made it!
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View back along the beach from the headland

Most of the walk is completely flat along the beach. Each headland plays a trick as you suppose it is the final one, but then another appears. Gradually the cliffs grow smaller and softer and the final headland materialises. The steep climb up to the gannet colony made my legs like jelly, but was well worth it. Hundreds of birds nestled and squabbled on the ground just metres away from me. I wanted to stay longer taking in the scene, the only person crazy enough to be out there! But I still had the return journey to complete: down the hill and along the beach the same way I’d come. Dogged determination got me back to the car in a round trip of 3 hours 45mins!

That evening Deco started, so I got back to Napier, showered, set my hair and snuck a quick nap – transforming from tramper to flapper.

Photos from the Art Deco Festival itself coming soon x

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