The Napa of New Zealand

Napier is one of New Zealand’s wine regions, on the east coast and considered the art deco capital, a sleepy little coastal town with the surf washing up on beautiful clean beaches.  We loved our little apartment/room overlooking the ocean, both luxurious and nice people. We immediately felt at home. We both agreed as we walked around the city, it was one of the cleanest and best landscaped cities we have been in, we could be very comfortable living in Napier.

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We went for a top Tripadvisor recommendation and had our dinner at Indonesia. They had a very unique selection called Rijstafel which is a combination of meats, seafood and vegetables served in tapas portions on top of a couple hot plates. When served we must have had 15 different selections of dishes, each very small but a real variety. Kees the owner was gracious and personable and we had a delightful evening.

As we left, Kees gave us a recommendation for lunch the following day, 1024 an old winery that had been turned into a gourmet lunch location. This place had Napa written all over it, the owner/chef Kent has not only created the best meal we had in New Zealand but each of his dishes were a piece of art. I am not usually one to take pictures but when served a dish at 1024 you are sure if you should eat it or sit and admire it like a fine piece of artwork.  

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After a wonderful lunch we finished the day with a trip up Te Mata Peak, a narrow and scary road that takes you to a peak that looks over Hawkes Bay and all the vineyards below. We were admiring the view when we turned around and saw a cycler who had just mastered the peak which is quite a feat, I was impressed because I was tired from driving to the top, I couldn’t imagine doing it on a bike.

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We tested a couple of really good wineries, Black Barn, Craggy Range and Clearview all were very good and would be on my list for wine tastings. Unlike Napa only Craggy charged us for the tasting but credited the tasting fee against any purchases, the other two wineries had no tasting charge.