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Active Retirees : Active Retirees Aug-Sept 2012
Active RetireesTM | 21 Ahalf-dozen unspoilt beaches, vineyards and wineries by the score, dramatic volcanic topography, fne food, art galleries, and vistas of the snow-capped mountains to the west: Hawke's Bay gathers all of the best bits of New Zealand into one small region on the east coast of the North Island. Hawke's Bay also has something unique: Napier, the Art Deco capital of the world. The bayside city, obliterated by a massive 7.9 earthquake and fire in February 1931, was rebuilt within two years of the disaster, in the fashionable architectural style of the day. Today, Napier basks in its Art Deco glory and UNESCO World Heritage status. Visitors are greeted at the Information Centre and Art Deco Shop by guides dressed for a West Egg party at Gatsby's house. In their roaring 20s costumes, they whisk visitors away on walking tours and vintage car rides to view buildings that look as if they have come straight from a Hollywood movie set. Take a hike Beyond Napier, Hawke's Bay has plenty to tantalise the outdoor fan, culture-lover and foodie. To put the region, stretching 100km from north to south and just as far to the west, into perspective, take a drive, cycle or hike to the top of stunning Te Mata Peak. A bulbous plateau rising 399m, Te Mata is said to resemble the sleeping giant of mythology. The 360-degree views from the top take in the Pacific Coast, verdant valleys of vines crisscrossed by rivers and the snow-capped Ruahine Ranges. On a clear day, there may even be glimpses of the smoking volcano of Mt Ruapehu. Ride baby, ride For the more adventurous, quad bike tours over volcanic hills and expeditions to the world-famous gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers also offer magnifcent views of mother nature's handiwork. Cape Kidnappers is a spectacular promontory at the end of more than 8km of dramatic cliffs. It is named after the 1769 clash between Maoris and the crew of Captain Cook's Endeavour over the perceived kidnapping of a local boy. Nesting on huge rocks at the shoreline and on a roped-off plateau high above the ocean is the world's largest onshore colony of gannets -- 20,000 large white birds with black-eyed markings and golden crowns, which spend months at the cape, feeding their chicks and teaching fledglings to fly. Tours take visitors to the very edge of a precipice to view the birds' antics -- the gannet recognition dance that each bird performs to find its mate among the throng is lovely to watch -- or along the shoreline in a huge tractor -drawn trailer. Culture vulture? Adventures in the great outdoors are balanced by an abundance of cultural pursuits ranging from dining in chic restaurants, shopping at farmers' markets and browsing the many craft stores and galleries. Hawke's Bay Museum & Art Gallery is set to reopen in 2013 following a multi- million dollar upgrade, showcasing a rich Maori history, the story of the 1931 earthquake and the birth of the Art Deco movement in Paris. •• FOOD AND WINE High summer temperatures, plenty of sunshine, low rainfall and good soil have combined to make Hawke's Bay a stellar wine-growing region, boasting 150 vineyards, more than 90 wineries and 35 cellar doors, many with outstanding restaurants. The region produces about 80 per cent of New Zealand's red wine, specialising in merlot, cabernet sauvignon and syrah, while excellent rich and complex Chardonnay is also a signature drop. It is the oldest wine region in the country; historic wineries include Mission Estate founded by French missionaries in 1851 and Te Mata Estate, operating since the 1870s. Both are worth a visit as much for their beautiful, but vastly different, architecture as for their award- winning wines. Visit Blackbarn Winery on a summer's Saturday morning to stock up on local produce at the growers' market and, while you are there, visit the onsite art gallery. If you really love the place, you can stay in the stunning accommodation. Clearview Estate Winery, not far from the Cape Kidnappers coast, is an ideal spot for alfresco dining, with the Italian- inspired Red Shed restaurant overlooking a sea of grapevines. W: www.wine hawkesbay.co.nz In their roaring 20s costumes, guides whisk visitors away. ART DECO WEEKEND Each February, Napier commemorates the 1931 earthquake with a festival of fun and feathers. Events include guided walks, fashion shows, a vintage car parade, a Depression Dinner, WWII aircraft displays, a Gatsby picnic, black-tie ball, Charleston dance night and 1930s movies. Everyone gets dressed up and into the swing of it. Next year's event runs from 14 to 17 February 2013, while there's a smaller Art Deco weekend, called DIY Deco, staged in mid-July. W: www.artdeconapier.com
Active Retirees June-July 2012
Active Retirees Oct-Nov 2012