Jan 06

Day 12: Napier to Wellington

by in Accommodation NZ, New Zealand Travel, Sightseeing NZ

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We checked out at 10 am and filled up in Havelock North, which is fairly close. The top-up cost NZ$30. Before leaving Napier, we visited the Old Napier Cemetery, which is on the hill overlooking the city and is surrounded by the Botanic Gardens.

Sunset in Napier

Sunset in Napier
Old Napier Cemetery

Old Napier Cemetery

In 1997 we had debunked a family legend about Lesley’s American ancestor, Simon Guptill, who was allegedly a sea captain and buried at sea. We had arrived at the Napier Library and the librarian who was retiring that day interrupted her send-off party to show us a layout of the cemetery and the plot number of Simon’s grave. Yes, Simon died in Napier on 24 February 1892 and he was master of a river lighter, not a sailing ship. Today we found the gravestone without a map, but it had become blackened with moss and needed some attention. The inscription could barely be read.

 

Keith in 1997 at Simon Guptill's grave

Keith in 1997 at Simon Guptill's grave

Kate in 2011 at Simon Guptill's grave

Kate in 2011 at Simon Guptill's grave

Lunch was at McDonald’s in Dannevirke, which is in an area settled by Scandinavian immigrants. Lesley’s maternal ancestors lived in Napier, Havelock North, Norsewood, Dannevirke, and Onga Onga, which are not far from Napier. We stopped at Shannon, where a local historian named Dulcie Viles used to live, but she had died before our 1997 visit. She had documented the Guptill genealogy and we were lucky to get a poor photocopy of it. We wanted to see the original, as it would have contained more pages. When we had spoken by phone to her son that year, he didn’t seem terribly helpful. So we visited the public library, but all we could find was her history of the Shannon Rugby Club, of which her son was a member in 1969.

 

Shannon

Shannon

NZ gets two days holiday for New Year, hence Tuesday was the end of the long weekend and holiday-makers were returning to Wellington. After a long delay sitting in traffic in Otaki, with no apparent explanation why it happened, we eventually reached Paraparaumu. We met another Guptill relative who was also interested in genealogy. After collecting some more family history data, we were on our way.

Silver Oaks on Thorndon

We reached our hotel at 6 pm. It was not easy to find with the Garmin 1390T GPS, as its database only knows two building numbers on Glenmore St (which is an extension of Tinakori Road). It didn’t know 20 Glenmore St, so we had to select 24 Glenmore St. We had booked a hotel named SilverOaks on Thorndon, which was prominent on the facade, but the adjacent car park was strictly for residents of the Sharella Motor Inn. The branding at Reception is all about the Sharella Motor Inn, so it appears that one brand was bought out by the other. We had to ask if we were in the right place.

Silveroaks on Thorndon

Silveroaks on Thorndon, Wellington

Silveroaks on Thorndon

You still get shampoo in sachets at the Silveroaks on Thorndon

Silveroaks on Thorndon

Three people in the room but only two of everything except the mugs.

This hotel is frozen in time in the early 1980s. No Internet and the appliances and fixtures are at least 20 years old. The freezer door was missing. The TV remote was broken. The amenities guide is a photocopied design nightmare and the map inside doesn’t cover the hotel itself. After two great motel experiences, this one was a let-down. The only good thing is the free parking.

Eating out every day was becoming expensive, so we bought a few provisions at New World near the waterfront and ate in our room.

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