In making our rounds in North Island, we experienced the trembles of the 7.8 magnitude earth that hit Kaikoura(located north of Christchurch in South Island) on November 13, 2016. At the time, we stayed at an Airbnb in Hawke’s Bay. The earthquake occurred a bit passed midnight right after I fell asleep. I woke up confused with that was happening. It felt like a headache from a night out with a little too much alcohol. I asked my travelmates what was going on. One of them said with the most calming voice, “It’s just an earthquake.” Being only half awake, the nonchalant response convinced me that everything was fine so I fell back asleep. At 3AM, our host woke us up to notify us about a tsunami warning and the need for an evacuation to higher grounds. The Airbnb was situated within a two minute walk to the beach. At the time a 1 meter high wave was spotted somewhere on the coast. My first thoughts were: should we collect laundry (consisted of most of my clothes I packed for the trip), should we really leave, and where could we go since it’s so cold. We ended up staying in the house. I set my alarm to monitor the tsunami alert incase the situation worsens. Everything turned out fine and we did not need to evacuate. We did hear how some houses were robbed while some decided to evacuate. How awful would it feel to flee your house thinking a tsunami is going to hit, but the only to find thieves intruding your property?
The Hawke’s Bay region including Napier and Hastings were known for their vineyards and wines. With our budget, we did not go wine tasting. However, we did visit the Te Mata Summit recommended by our host. We actually made our visit here two days in a row because it was so gorgeous. It was a bit cloudy the first day so we decided to do a double take the next day before we leave the area. I am so glad that we went back. The sun makes all the difference. It was already a great view with mediocre weather, the shining sun definitely enhanced the scenery.
It has been quite the struggle to fully enjoy New Zealand’s beauty as we have been plagued with rainy or cloudy weather everywhere we went. We were told that November was probably the worst time to visit New Zealand – this is the time when it rains the most.