Fun family weekend in Havelock North
For a village with a distinctly boutique feel, Havelock North is surprisingly stacked with ways to keep the entire family entertained for a weekend Hawke's Baycation.
Wherever you choose to base yourself, you’ve never far from your next meal, activity or relaxation opportunity. Visitors are spoiled for choice when selecting Havelock North accommodation, but you’re guaranteed a great stay with any of these options: Porters Boutique Hotel – luxury hotel accommodation, in the centre of the Village; Pipi Hotel – a home away from home, brought to you by the owners of the legendary Pipi Café; Cottages on St Andrews – cottage accommodation surrounded by orchards, but just a short drive from Havelock North.
Dining with kids can be a minefield at the best of times – unless you’ve got the inside scoop on where’s good in the neighbourhood. For brunch and lunch, three options to have at the very top of your list include: Wright & Co – this trendy café in the Village is a favourite spot for locals and an extensive menu to satisfy even the fussiest eaters; no Havelock North holiday is complete without a trip to Birdwoods – the most delightful union involving a gallery, sculpture garden, café and old-fashioned sweet shop; for something a little bit fancy, head to St Georges Restaurant where chef Francky Godinho plates perhaps the most beautifully presented meals you've ever seen - and knows a things or two about catering for kids.
When it comes to dinner options, you're no less spoiled. Relatively new to the Village but created by some of Napier's finest hospo's is Best Burgers - delicious and affordable = winning combination; Pipi Café has well and truly achieved legendary status in Hawke's Bay, they love serving kids, and so is truly deserving of your family's custom; Mamacita is a sure-to-please Mexican restaurant with daily specials and a very kid-friendly menu.
Things to do
You're well rested and the kids have full bellies - it's time to start exploring. Given you're in New Zealand's Food and Wine Country, it makes perfect sense to visit the 'hive' of activity at Arataki Honey Visitor Centre. Free honey tastings and an opportunity to see live bees in action is a winning combination. Keirunga Gardens is a great spot to run around any time of the year, but particularly on the first and third Sundays of the month. That's when, weather permitting, it comes alive with sights, sounds, smell and excitement of the miniature railway.
The Village Green in the heart of Havelock North includes a modern, expansive playground suitable for all ages, and includes a scooter/skateboard park. If you're there in summer, the neighbouring Village Pools, offer a chance to cool off from the Hawke's Bay heat. In the Village's retail precinct, Event Cinemas is perfect for catching the latest movies, laid back in the super-comfy seats with some tasty popcorn to snack on. Of course, no list is complete without extolling the many virtues of the magnificent Te Mata Peak. With family-friendly walking trails, mountain bike tracks, a glorious view from the summit, and perhaps even the promise of a cold drink and bowl of fries from the excellent Peak House restaurant on your descent, what's not to love?