With the rugged Ruahine Ranges holding vigil in the west and miles of white sand beaches snaking around each bend on the east, Central Hawke’s Bay will surprise and delight even the most seasoned travellers.

It stands to reason then, that 48hours in Central Hawke’s Bay is best spent seeing as many of these stunning landscapes as possible. And while this recipe for a delicious Hawke’s Bay day begins by traveling south from Napier or Hastings, unlike most recipes, it tastes just as good in reverse.

Highlights

  • Quaint towns
  • Retreat accommodation
  • Stunning beaches

MORNING

Heading south on State Highway 2, the township of Ōtāne greets you at the Central Hawke’s Bay border. With an easy 2.3km historical walk and wonderful Sunday market, that showcases local produce, preserves and sweet treats, Ōtāne is a small town with a big heart.

Roughly 5mins south is Waipawa, where galleries, antiques stores, and delightful cafes abound. Notable galleries include Tattertales, Creative Fusion and Artmosphere Gallery, which are all worth a visit, as is the Central Hawke’s Bay Museum.

Enjoy lunch at Nola’s Café, where locals vouch for the “epic” cheese scones.

AFTERNOON

A short drive south will have you arriving in Waipukurau, Central Hawke’s Bay’s largest town and home to the Tukituki Trails.

Walk, run or bike along this gorgeous 12km meander alongside the Tukituki River. Stretching out in both directions from Russell Park to the Tukituki Swing Bridge in the east and Lindsay Bush in the west, these immaculate limestone trails offer a glimpse of classic Central Hawke’s Bay countryside. Running alongside the limestone paths is a Grade 2 mountain bike track ensuring this is a stop for the whole family.

EVENING

Head towards to coast and the luxury accommodation of Wallingford. A boutique luxe stay, Wallingford is an utterly charming homestead that is made for relaxing. Yet despite the sumptuous accommodation, it is host Jeanette Woerner and chef extraordinaire Chris Stockdale that make Wallingford truly special. Chris’s menus are a creative and confident showcase of only the freshest local produce, while Jeanette ensures you are served up with the other good things in life – fresh air, expanse, peace and quiet.

Marinate overnight. 

Highlights

1 Otane

A small township with a big heart, and home to a fantastic Sunday morning market

4 Tukituki Trail

A network of limestone trails, suitable for walking or biking, along the banks of the picturesque Tukituki River

5 Wallingford Homestead

A boutique luxe stay and dining experience in an utterly charming Central Hawke's Bay homestead

MORNING

Wake up at Wallingford and enjoy a superb homecooked breakfast. If you’re visiting during July and August, take a stroll through the truffiѐre, featuring 1700 oak trees grown to cultivate perigord truffles.

Depart Wallingford for Te Paerahi Beach. Enjoy a stroll along this vast white sand beach that stretches for miles, and is a mecca for surfers, divers and fishing enthusiasts. Return to Porangahau township for a lunch at The Duke; a down to earth tavern where the friendly welcome is matched only by the high quality pub grub.

AFTERNOON

Weave north through Central Hawke’s Bay’s five other beaches. Time a visit to Blackhead beach for low tide to discover the incredible Te Angiangi Marine Reserve, or visit Aramoana Beach, where the McHardy Woolshed, built in 1906 and lovingly restored, stands guard on the beachfront.

Pourerere Beach is a popular spot for day trippers as it offers great fishing, diving and surfing, while Mangakuri and Kairakau Beaches are smaller, more rustic beaches that are extremely picturesque.

EVENING

Travel inland to spend a night at Mangarara Eco Lodge. Set on more than 1500 acres of rolling farmland and positioned on the edge of Horseshoe Lake, Mangarara Eco Lodge allows guests to embrace the rhythms of Central Hawke’s Bay.

Relax on the deck and watch life on the lake, muck in to collect free range eggs from the mobile hen house, and eat fresh produce straight from the garden and farm.

Finally drift off to sleep to the sounds of rural Central Hawke’s Bay, content in the knowledge that you’ve unearthed a perfect Central Hawke’s Bay recipe.

Highlights

2 The Duke Hotel

Your classic, salt-of-the-earth tavern where the friendly welcome is matched only by the hearty fare.

4 Pourerere Beach

Popular with day trippers, surfers and sunseekers with kilometres of white sand, great fishing and diving and safe swimming in the lagoon

7 Mangarara Eco Lodge

Nestled on the edge of the picture-perfect Horseshoe Lake, in amongst a working farm.