1 Gwavas Garden & Homestead
This Heritage NZ Category 1 listed homestead offers a glimpse of the district's grand beginnings
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“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by."
Was Robert Frost referring to the intersection of State Highway 2 and State Highway 50? Probably not . . . but he certainly could have been.
While State Highway 2 draws a line through the middle of Central Hawke’s Bay, State Highway 50 is a spectacular driving route, made for savouring. Winding its way through the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges, State Highway 50 is a showcase of dazzling Central Hawke’s Bay countryside. Stunning in every season, this road comes alive under the colours of autumn and during spring, when paddocks are filled with bouncing lambs and the Ruahine Ranges are capped with snow.
And while it is a favourite cruising route for vintage car enthusiasts, it is absolutely worth slowing down and making a day of it.
Travelling south from Napier take a right onto State Highway 50 and let your adventure begin. Cruise through the famed winegrowing districts of Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa, and continue south until you reach Gwavas Garden and Homestead.
This great dame of Central Hawke’s Bay was built more than 130 years ago and offers a glimpse of the district’s grand beginnings. Tour through the Heritage NZ category 1 listed homestead before wandering the internationally renowned nine-hectare woodland garden. With original plantings from 1860, the garden is listed as a Garden of National Significance by the NZ Gardens Trust.
Five minutes up the road is the small settlement of Tikokino. This charming rural town is equipped with an excellent country pub, The Sawyers Arms, which makes for a fantastic lunch stop. If you’re passing through during October or November, stroll down to Tikokino Peonies who have garden open days when peonies bloom.
Continue along State Highway 50 to Ongaonga – a picturesque historical village, awash with enchanting cottages and museums. Open to the public on Sundays, the Ongaonga Open Air Museum showcases a wonderful collection of history and photos from the early settlers and founding residents of Ongaonga. The Coles Brothers’ building, in the heart of the Village, is particularly notable. The category 1 listed building was built in 1878 and is currently being meticulously restored.
At the end of the State Highway 50, you’ll find a jewel at the crossroads – Junction Wines. Owned by former All Black, John Ashworth and family, Junction Wines is a small boutique vineyard that makes the most of Central Hawke's Bay’s long, dry growing seasons. Their wines are award-winning and unique, while the cellar door, stacked with rugby memorabilia from John’s playing days, is open year-round by appointment.
Settle down for a delicious drop and some truly Kiwi yarns; the final two ingredients to a perfect Hawke’s Bay recipe.
Ongaonga's history dates back to 1865 - take a step back in time with this open air museum.
Located on the East Coast of New Zealand, we’re pretty much close to everything!