Vikings, Trolls and Wine on the route from Napier to Wellington

Since the 1930’s when Napier was rebuilt after an earthquake the weather and the art deco buildings have been a magnet for visitors both local and foreign.  This is especially true for visitors on a motorhome rental or campervan adventure on the north island of New Zealand.

Whilst you’re in Napier seek out the hot open air pools and wine lands of Hawkes Bay, take a trip up to Bluff Hill for some panoramic views, or have a round of golf at the mini golf park.  

When you’re ready to leave, head in a southerly direction towards the Ruahine Forest Park and Waipukurau.  If you enjoy walking then the parks trails will keep you busy, there are all sorts of trails to follow from the short and sweet to the one day or more treks, so if walking is your passion then plan to spend at least one night here. If you’re not into walking the town of Waipukurau will probably keep you just as busy!

From here you’re heading into troll country, the land of the Norsemen and the town of Norsewood; very Scandinavian, and many of the street names still carry the names of their original Nordic settlers. On the road to Dannevike you’ll even see a Viking, albeit a painted one!  Today the locals are nowhere near a fierce as the Danes, and Dannevike is the centre of the local farming community, oh how things have changed.  The smell of lavender is what you’ll probably notice at your next stop and that’s because Woodville has some wonderfully fragrant lavender farms and presses.   This is where you may like to spend another night before moving on to the Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre at Pukana tomorrow.

The park gives visitors the opportunity to see some of local endangered wildlife in their natural surroundings, there are also some good walking trails too.  Once you’ve enjoyed all there is to see, move onto shearing country and then Greytown, arguably New Zealand’s most pretty Victorian town.  Greytown is where the city dwellers come for the weekend to indulge in wine tasting, antiques and clean air, and with over 3000 cases of wine produced here in the Wairarapa region you’ll see why.  This is definitely the place to stop if you enjoy wine, the cellars will invite you in with open arms, but remember where you left your motorhome rental or campervan hire, or you’ll be staying here longer than you anticipated.  

Next stop Featherston, the home of the only remaining Fell locomotive in the world.  Its part of a collection of other locomotives and all things train related at the Fell Engine Museum.  Featherstone is not only home to a locomotive collection it also where you can visit the heritage museum that illustrates life in the Japanese prisoner of war camps from WWII and the local Featherston Military Base.

The next part of your journey takes you through more vineyards as well as over mountains to your final destination Wellington where this part of your motorhome rental or campervan is over, but not before you’ve discovered what the capital of New Zealand holds dear, its beaches, wineries, and waterfront.  In fact it’s so compact it takes just 20 minutes to walk from one side of the city to the other.

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