I'm a wedding and portrait photographer living in Vancouver, BC with my husband Randy.  I photographed my first wedding when I was only 17 years old - and I've photographed over 200 weddings since! I am an avid bookworm, lover of green tea, pretty nail polish & my Labradoodle Harley. Thanks for visiting!

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Taupo to Napier

February 17, 2015


For three weeks, we’re traveling the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogging our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five and Part Six.

So far, we’ve loved the two bed and breakfasts we’ve stayed in! We have quite a few more on our accommodation list for the next couple of weeks. Amori Lodge in Lake Taupo is a great choice if you’re looking for an affordable but beautiful place to stay. It’s only a couple blocks from the lakefront and the owners are super sweet. We had toast and fruit and coffee and tea and enjoyed talking with them a lot. They helped us make a plan for the day ahead!

We originally were considering doing an 8 hour hike we had heard really good things about but a) 8 hours is a long time. b) Our schedule is already tiring enough. Most mornings I’m wanting more sleep. Hah! We looked at the map and based on our host’s recommendations for a day-trip we drove four hours from Lake Taupo to Opotiki for a quick coffee and muffin stop through the mountains, then down to Gisborne on the coast. Maybe it was the long drive, maybe it was the heat, who knows, but we didn’t find much to do in Gisborne. Plus, we knew we had two hours of driving after our stop for lunch (after FIVE hours already that day) – but we grabbed lunch at a cafe and continued down the coast to Napier. The drive through the mountains was beautiful… but four hours of twisting and turning was a bit much for me. ;)

One disappointing thing about the drive was how little coastline we saw. The highway looked closer to the ocean on the map… but we only caught a few glimpses of it. In Randy’s words, “today may not have been the best use of time.” We laughed back at the Viceroy Hotel in Napier later that evening looking at the map – 7 full hours. Randy said, “That’s our longest drive of the trip. And we did it today for fun.” Oh boy. Yes, it was long. It was crazy windy through the mountains. We were exhausted by the time we got to Napier.

We didn’t even get any photos! The roads took too much concentration to worry about stopping to take photos then in Gisborne, we were so set on just getting to our evening destination. So…. 7 hours of driving and not much to show for it. However, Napier was gorgeous weather. Still 29 degrees Celsius at dinnertime. We went for a walk right along the ocean trying to work up an appetite after our heavy/fatty-feeling/not-very-appetizing lunch in Gisborne a few hours before.

But guess what picture I DO HAVE? Here we have a geyser that erupts everyday at PRECISELY WHATEVER TIME I PRESS THIS BUTTON… ;) – Read yesterday’s post if you missed that joke.

For dinner, we settled on Three Doors Up, which came highly recommended online. We loved this spot! It had a fun vibe, a small place but it was full on the Monday evening we were there. Randy ordered the chicken, with basil pesto, wrapped in bacon with mashed potatoes and I had the market fish (salmon) with salad and potatoes. It took quite a while for the food to come out, but we enjoyed our drinks and it was a small kitchen – the service and the atmosphere made up for it.

In the morning, we were set to explore a little more of Napier before making our way to Wellington! :)

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jamie delaine
Wedding & Portrait Photographer

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Joyful photos that feel like you— through easy, natural posing.