2 Ahuriri Beach
A picture-perfect beach with - perhaps - the best boardwalk in Hawke's Bay
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While it is tempting to arrive in the region and head straight for the sprawling vineyards of Bridge Pa, Gimblett Gravels and Havelock North, the twin cities of Napier and Hastings offers a recipe to a fantastic urban culinary adventure.
Napier is the Art Deco jewel in Hawke’s Bay crown. Positioned spectacularly on the waterfront, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the city’s pastel play host to award-winning restaurants, vibrant wine and cocktail bars and popular eateries.
Hastings is the very cool, on-the-rise sibling. The main street, particularly East Block 200, has undergone a renaissance, and is now a mecca of artisan stores, eateries, taprooms, bakeries and cellar doors.
You’ll need energy for this epic day, so head straight to F.G Smiths Eatery in Ahuriri for breakfast and coffee. With an extensive cabinet offering as well as a la carte menu, F.G. Smiths is a locals’ favourite for a very good reason. If you’re there early enough, nab a ham and cheese scroll – these babies are a hot commodity, fresh out of the oven at 8am. Delish!
Walk off your breakfast with a stroll to Ahuriri Beach. Wander along the boardwalk to Perfume Point to watch surfers make the most of the popular little break, or stroll past Spriggs Park Playground and along the waterfront, all the way around to Marine Parade and Napier’s CBD.
Time for lunch, and Hapī is a must-visit. Specialising in allergy-free food, Hapī produce integrity danse kai that tastes absolutely delicious.
Once you’ve devoured lunch, enjoy Napier’s Art Deco city centre. Few places in the world have such a broad representation of the stripped classical, Spanish mission, and Art Deco styles within such a confined area, which is why the city has deservedly become known as the Art Deco Capital. Better yet, take a walking tour with the Art Deco Trust and discover the fascinating story of how Napier rebuilt itself after the catastrophic 1931 earthquake.
Continue the Art Deco theme and dine at Central Fire Station Bistro, where one of Napier’s most iconic historic buildings has been reimagined into a stunning modern eatery. Central Fire Station Bistro co-owner and head chef Sam Clark is on a culinary mission to create simple food using the freshest locally grown produce. Launching Central Fire Station in late 2019, it is here that Sam showcases the very best Hawkes Bay produce and wine at this very chic bistro.
Retire for the night at Napier’s iconic Art Deco Masonic Hotel, a boutique hotel that has colourful history and a building that doesn't shy away from embracing all the extravagance that comes with the era. If you want a nightcap, the hotel’s bar and restaurant, The Emporium, is the perfect spot for this.
Head into the 'Heart of Hawke’s Bay' and enjoy breakfast at Opera Kitchen. It might be in central Hastings but is only a stone’s throw from orchards, market gardens, road-side fruit stalls, vineyards, rivers and the sea, so their food is always fresh and consciously modern.
Opera Kitchen is also the perfect place to start your day in Hastings. From here, head to Heretaunga St and explore the many boutique shops stocked full of locally made and artisan goods and gorgeous curiosities. Retail stores Black Bird Goods, Little Red Bookshop, Real World and Kindred Road are all worth popping into, while artisan producers Cornucopia, Y'a Bon and La Petite Chocolate are constantly producing tasty morsels that you’ll want to save room for!
After a morning exploring Hastings’ urban offerings, you’ll be ready for a cold beer and some fantastic pub fare. Thankfully, Brave Brewing’s new taproom in the Tribune Precinct offers it all. Owners Gemma and Matt Smith have worked closely with their head chef Brad Simpson to create the perfect bar menu to accompany their craft brews. Brave’s easy drinking IPA Tigermilk is a firm favourite.
Move on from Brave and head back to Heretaunga St East to discover Hastings Distillers. New Zealand’s first certified organic spirit producers, Hastings Distillers Tasting Room is a special spot that could be found in anywhere in the world. Indulge in a tasting of gins and spirits, enjoy a cocktail or purchase a bottle to take home.
If you fancy another drink, Fun Buns across the road do fabulous cocktails, while Common Room next door is ideal for a beer, a wine, a boardgame or a boogie.
When it comes to dinner, there’s no going past Sazio, an authentic pasta bar with a name that means ‘satisfied’. With house-made arancini, gnocchi, and pappardelle, all made from the freshest Hawke’s Bay ingredients on the menu as well as daily specials and plenty of Hawke’s Bay wine to wash it down with, you will certainly be living up to its name!
Finish your evening with a show at Toitoi: Hawke's Bay Arts & Events Centre, including the beautifully restored Hawke's Bay Opera House. With a never-ending line up of incredible shows, all set among opulent Art Nouveau interiors, the Opera House is the final flourish on your Twin Cities Urban Route.
Boutique shopping full of locally-produced artisan goods and gorgeous curiosities
Located on the East Coast of New Zealand, we’re pretty much close to everything!