We were tickled pink when we were able to find a last-minute vacation/”bach” rental in Hastings, NZ become available during the nearby Napier Art Deco Festival that attracts visitors from all over to enjoy their 125+ events over a February weekend!

It turned out to be a superb location–perched on the edge of a vineyard, and in a quiet location without traffic or noise. The host was amazing, and let our kids help feed her chickens. As with many NZ properties–they also had lambs that they were raising for butchering.

It’s here that we were introduced to our first ever Springfree trampoline which passed the scrutiny of our gymnast in tow. Very cool!!

The rental vehicle van we drove through NZ was the perfect fit for us…and we loved private holiday “baches” for traveling around the islands!

After enjoying some relaxing time at Birdwoods Gallery and their delectable sweet shop (DANGEROUS, I tell ya!!), we drove out of town by way of a detour to Te Mata Peak. We climbed up and up and up and were rewarded with a beautiful view of Hawkes Bay (the water bay, as well as the town) and were surprised to see how much this area reminded us of Eastern Oregon/Washington! Such a stark difference from other areas of the North Island which feature rich, tropical vegetation! No wonder this area is known for its orchards and vineyards—it shares a similar climate to some of the Pacific Northwest that looks so similar!

We really enjoyed Hastings! It was the perfect landing spot to participate in the Art Deco festivities, and also go to the nearby Splash Planet waterpark.  Hastings/Havelock North is an unassuming area…quiet, with fresh produce galore, and really kind people!

In fact, when we attended church on Sunday we discovered that the listing on lds.org was incorrect, and we arrived at the tail-end of a Sacrament meeting for a foreign-speaking ward (Tongan or Samoan…I can’t remember which). We waited in the lobby to confirm the mistake, and as the people exited someone spoke to us about the mixup. The Stake President then came out, and invited us into the chapel where they offered our family the opportunity to take the sacrament. What a blessing! He then directed us to a nearby meetinghouse where an English-speaking service was taking place. We drove there and jumped into Primary/Sunday School. A while into Sunday School, we were pulled briefly from class—because the the Stake President from the other building had driven over to this building to find us and invite us to his home for Family Home Evening (FHE…a common LDS activity evening for families to spend together) and dinner the next evening! On Monday we enjoyed FHE and a typical meet/potatoes NZ meal with his family and missionaries!  Sweet, welcoming people!!


My name is Alisa, and I love traveling the world with my adventurous husband and rambunctious 5 small children. I am passionate about gorgeous scenery, meeting new people, and I’m a certified salad nut. Most of all, I love making memories with my family, and I enjoy sharing our travels with others!

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