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Pacific Coast Highway - Napier - Blue Spring

Napier and Hastings are the largest twin cities in Hawke’s Bay. They both enjoy higher amount of sunshine and warmer climates as compared to other places in New Zealand. Consequently a lot of fruit is produced in the region. The vineyards are also very abundant in the region because of the very reason.

Although we had visited a lot of places in the past 2 days, it was a no-brainer to visit the twin cities and their major attractions. The weather forecast was not very favourable for the day and we thought we would make the most of our time there. After checking out of the accommodation we drove towards Cape Kidnappers.
Clifton Beach.
Cape Kidnappers, named due to an incident which took place in 1769 with Captain Cook and the Maori, is a scenic place offering quite a few things to do. There are gannet colonies, walks and a golf course. Tours are operated by a private operator to view the gannet colonies. We learned it when we reached there and had to miss it since it needed advance bookings.
Expansive views from Te Mata Peak.
We visited Clifton, a small settlement just before Cape Kidnappers and had breakfast there. After a short walk and bit of sightseeing, we decided to go to Te MataPeak in Havelock North, a famous suburb in Hastings, since it was nearby. After only half an hour’s drive from Clifton, we reached Te Mata Peak. I had been here earlier, hence knew the place and surrounds very well.
Altitude Survey Mark at Te Mata Peak.
The peak is a marvellous place and offers awe inspiring 360 degree views of the surroundings including the Pacific Ocean and the huge Hawke’s Bay plains. There is a small car park on the top of the mountain which easily gets congested on a nice sunny day due to large number of visitors. There are some walks on the peak and surroundings, clearly segregated on the basis of difficulty levels.
Views from Te Mata Peak.
The peak is also used by paragliding enthusiasts as a launching ramp. Being cloudy, there were few people visiting and we could see only some locals running to the summit and then back. We were mesmerised by the views from the top and almost forgot that we had to travel back home today. After spending sometime on summit, we started back towards Napier.
Various Walks available on the peak.
The Arataki honey factory is also located in Havelock North. We skipped to visit it since we were already short on time. On the way to Napier, we saw a large fig orchard and decided to see how figs were grown. We could see some fig trees and the visitor centre at Te Mata Figs sold a decent variety of fig based products. We did purchase some figs since they were very tempting.
A Beautiful fountain on the Marine Parade.
We reached Napier city and took a quick lunch break. We drove to the Bluff Hill Lookout and again enjoyed the similar expansive views of the city. The clouds had given way to sunshine and we could see a beautiful clear day. The Bluff Hill lookout was easily accessible as it is right in the city. There are information panels installed everywhere on the lookout showcasing the history of the Napier Port.
Pacific Ocean from the Marine Parade.
Napier is a famous tourist centre because of its unique Art Deco architecture. In 1931 a powerful earthquake had levelled majority of structures in the city. The rebuild was done based on the Art Deco Architecture prevalent at that time. Most of the buildings have been maintained since then and are a part of famous Art Deco centres in the whole world.
Art Deco Museum, Napier.
We bid goodbye to Napier after spending some time on Bluff Hill Lookout. As we drove towards Auckland, the weather improved and sunny skies showed up. The drive from Napier to Taupo is mostly hilly and amidst forests. It is very scenic and there are few rest stops made on beautiful lookouts. We intentionally took breaks at most of those rest stops. It did help me relax while the long drive.
Port Napier seen from Bluff Hill Lookout.
After almost 2.5 hours, we reached Taupo. We took a quick tea break and refuelled there. Although Taupo being a very beautiful small town, we decided to skip it since we had been there earlier as well. I had recently read about a beautiful natural water springs called Blue Spring. I checked the maps to see if we could visit it on the way.

Located in Waikato region near Putaruru, the Blue Spring is a natural mineral water aquifer which accounts for more than 70% of bottled spring water in New Zealand. After an hour and a half we reached the Blue Spring car park at Leslie Road and saw huge queues of people visiting. We had to park the car a little bit far from the entrance and walk the rest.
Looking eastwards from Bluff Hill Lookout.
The entrance to Blue Spring is through a small car park and the walk is almost a kilometre from the car park. It took about 15 minutes to reach the springs. We saw people just swimming and lying around in the spring with their families. The place had been recently made popular due to media coverage. There were a lot of people visiting given the small number of facilities available.
People taking a dip at Blue Spring.
The water was crystal clear and pure. There was a sign board explaining the history of the place and way how the water came out of the aquifers. Although enticing, we didn’t go in the water. I drank a small amount of it using my hands and could feel that it was just like the bottled water. We walked our way back to the car and drove ahead towards Auckland.
Info about Blue Spring.
It had started growing dark and we continued on our way back home. After almost 2.5 hour drive from Blue Spring, we reached home. While having dinner we reflected on what we had seen in the past 3 days and agreed that it was difficult to decide a single place which was the best. It was an exhilarating experience to drive 1500+ kilometres in only 3 days and visit some of the remotest places in New Zealand. :)

PS: These days entering and swimming in Blue Spring has been prohibited due to environmental concerns by the local council.

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