The Road Less Travelled

While it is the second route between Napier and Wellington, there’s nothing secondary about the journey along State Highway 50.

Winding its way through the foothills of the Ruahine Ranges, State Highway 50 showcases spectacular Central Hawke’s Bay countryside. Stunning in every season this driving route – a favourite of vintage car enthusiasts – comes alive under the colours of autumn and in spring, when roadside paddocks are filled with bouncy lambs. State Highway 50 takes you past several Central Hawke’s Bay jewels, including Gwavas Garden and Homestead and Ashcott Homestead. These great dames of Central Hawke’s Bay were both built more than 130 years ago and offer a glimpse of the grand beginnings of this region. The gardens at both venues are exquisite. Tikokino Peonies and Taniwha Daffodils make the highway come alive during spring. Tikokino Peonies bloom from October to November, while Taniwha daffodils is a hallmark of spring in Central Hawke’s Bay. Detour just off State Highway 50 to discover another gem, Ongaonga Historic Village. Arriving here is like stepping back in time. Awash with historic buildings and with a fabulous museum filled with machinery, tools, history and photos from the region’s early settlers, Ongaonga is a fabulous diversion worth exploring. Sumptuous detours include Kune Café & Bar, which boasts delicious, homely meals and stunning countryside foods.


TOP TIP: This journey photographs wonderfully during spring when there is snow on the Ruahine Ranges and lambs and daffodils in the paddocks.


  • Gwavas Gardens and Homestead
  • Tikokino Peonies (Spring)
  • Tikokino Country Hotel
  • Ongaonga Historic Village
  • Taniwha Daffodils (Spring)
  • Ashcott Homestead
  • Junctions Wines Cellar Door

Detour to:

  • Kune Café & Bar
  • Lime Rock Winery