A journey to Hawke’s Bay is not complete until you have uncovered the hidden gems of Northern Hawke’s Bay. 

With spectacular white sand beaches, secluded bush walks, natural saltwater hot pools, rail biking and one of the best small museums in the country, Wairoa and its surrounding areas are a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

Whether you’re travelling north from Napier or south from Gisborne, the journey is a beautiful one, that winds through untouched native bush along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Highlights

  • Wairoa township
  • Mahia Peninsula
  • Natural hot spring pools

MORNING

Arrive in Wairoa midmorning, and head to East End Café for a coffee and bite to eat before getting your bearings at the Wairoa District Heritage Museum. Housed in the old Union Bank of Australia building, which is itself registered with the NZ Historical Places Trust, the museum presents historical displays related to the Maori and European history of the Wairoa area and surrounding districts.

Take a stroll down the stunning Wairoa River Walkway, discovering more of this quaint town’s history. 

AFTERNOON

Pop into the iconic Oslers Bakery & Café for lunch – locals swear by the mince and cheese pies here and you’re going to need energy for the afternoon ahead – and then it's back in the car, heading north to Māhia Peninsula.

At the township of Opoutama, switch transport modes and hop on a rail bike with Māhia Coastal Rail Bikes. This 22km, three-hour journey along disused railways explores pristine coastal communities, travels through farmland and lagoons, and is completed with a bridge crossing and a BYO beachside picnic at Blacks Beach.

Continue on to Māhia to your accommodation for the night – our pick is the Māhia Beach Motel & Holiday Park, but there are a lot of holiday homes available to hire as well.

EVENING

Sunset Point Sports Bar and Bistro is a great casual option for dinner, but whatever you do, make sure you head up Mokotahi Hill for sunset.

One of the only spots on the East Coast where you can see the sun set into the water, Mokotahi Hill is striking headland at the centre of the Māhia Beach township and an easy walk along a well maintained pathway. 

Highlights

2 Wairoa Museum

Housed in a NZ Historic Places Trust listed building, you cannot miss the red street canopy!

5 Mahia Coastal Railbikes

A guided railbike adventure with stunning water views. They even have e-bikes!

7 Mokotahi Headland lookout

The short, sharp walk to the summit offers glorious 360 degree views across the surrounding areas.

MORNING

Wake up and head to the beach. The options are endless – Māhia Beach is a family-friendly classic, Mahanga offers excellent surf when the conditions are right, while an explore along Māhia East Coast Road offers up gorgeous rockpools for exploring and swimming in. 

AFTERNOON

Time for the ultimate relaxation at one of the country’s best kept secrets. Morere Hot Springs offers gorgeous hot and cold pools set amid 364 hectares of rain forest.

Rare in the world of hot springs, the Morere Springs produce 250,000 litres a day of hot ancient sea water. Known for its therapeutic values, the water is piped to a series of public and private hot pools. It is definitely worth taking a walk on any of the various walks in the Morere Scenic Reserve, from 10-minute walks up to three hours. Especially famous for its nikau palms, the dense virgin rain forest is home to a wide range of native birds.

EVENING

You won't need to travel far to rest your head, with the comfy Morere Hot Springs Lodge just a short walk away. Nestled among 30 acres of woodland and brimming with hospitality and manaakitanga, you'll feel right at home.

Depart the following morning relaxed and ready to continue your journey on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Highlights

2 Rockpools

A short drive along the northern edge of the peninsula will gift you this incredible opportunity

3 Morere Hot Springs

Gorgeous hot and cold springs set amid 364 hectares of rain forest.

4 Morere Hot Springs Lodge

A range of comfortable and affordable accommodation, just a short stroll from Morere Hot Springs