48 Hours in Hawke's Bay
With so much to — quite literally – devour in Hawke’s Bay, how are you best to spend 48 hours in Food and Wine Country?
0530 Wake up before sunrise and head to Ātea a Rangi star compass to catch the first rays of the day. Either book a sunrise tour with celestial navigator Piripi Smith of the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust to discover the incredible navigational techniques of early Polynesians, or simply sit back and enjoy the spectacular sight as the sun rises off the tip of Te Kauwae-a-Māui/ Cape Kidnappers peninsula.
0800 Your choice for breakfast in Napier’s city centre. Pick from delicious donuts at Mister D’s, beautiful bagels at Albion, sumptuous brunches at Adoro and Kolachi cafes, or vegan delights at Hapi – whatever you choose, you’re guaranteed a delicious start to the day.
0930 Discover the history of the region at MTG Hawke’s Bay. Complete with visiting and permanent exhibitions, you don’t want to miss the exhibition on the 1931 earthquake that devastated the region.
1100 Enjoy a guided walking tour of Napier’s Art Deco highlights with the Art Deco Trust. After the original town of Napier was levelled by the devastating earthquake in 1931, it was completely rebuilt within a remarkable two-year period in the contemporary style of the times, Art Deco. The city is now recognised as the most complete Art Deco city in the world.
1300 Enjoy lunch in the historic fishing village of Ahuriri. Choose from a range of cafes and gastro pubs, and enjoy the stunning coastal and harbour views. Local favourites include Milk & Honey, Crazy Good, Ahuriri Village Kitchen, Picnic and F.G Smith.
1400 Hit the trails. Whether with a tour guide or on your own, the Hawke’s Bay Trails offer endless adventure. With more than 200km of limestone and paved trails, they are the perfect way to get around. Zip between wineries and cellar doors, cruise along the coast in Napier or at Te Awanga, discover the region’s pristine rivers and picturesque estuaries or simply enjoy the countryside trails that connect cities and towns.
1700 Stroll along Napier’s Marine Parade. This approximately 3km stretch of iconic seafront connects Napier with the Pacific Ocean, with stunning vistas encompassing Mahia Peninsula in the north to Cape Kidnappers in the south. A mecca for family-friendly activities and a focal point for many city events and celebrations, Marine Parade is the perfect pre-dinner aperitif.
1800 Dinner options in Napier city are plentiful. From the fine dining of Pacifica, Bistronomy, Central Fire Station and Poivre & Sel and winery restaurants of Church Road, Crab Farm and Mission Estate, to the lively establishments of Emporium, Indigo, Market St and the West Quay precinct.
0800 Discover the coffee roasters of Hawke’s Bay. Start your day with the perfect brew at either Hawthorne Coffee House in Havelock North, Box Espresso in Clive or Cupple & Y’a Bon in Hastings. If you’re keen for some salt air, head to Brown Dog Espresso at Te Awanga or get your bearings at Peak House, way up high on Te Mata Peak.
0930 Meet the Gannets. Whether you travel to the world’s largest, mainland gannet colony across farmland with Gannet Safaris Overland or by tractor with Gannet Beach Adventures, these beautiful birds are a sight to behold! Encounter more than 20,000 gannets in their natural habitat– nesting, preening, dancing, swooping and diving right before your eyes.
1300 Enjoy a winery lunch along the Te Awanga coast — recently reopened for lunch, Elephant Hill joins Te Awanga Estate and Clearview Estate Winery in offering great food, exceptional wine and stunning views of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula.
1430 Discover the region’s delicacies. Not just home to leading producers and suppliers, Hawke’s Bay is also home to a range of incredible experiences where foodies can immerse themselves in the product’s journey. If this sounds like you, definitely check out Te Mata Figs, Arataki Honey, Hunter Gatherer Tours with Juliet Harbutt, OM Goodness, Rush Munro, Telegraph Hill and Silky Oak Chocolate.
1700 Head to Hastings city centre and discover East Block 200. Luxuriate in the lush surroundings of Hastings Distillers’ Tasting Room, delight in the international flavours on offer at Sazio and Fun Buns, or wile away the evening at Brave Brewing’s newly opened premises or Common Room — a local institution, if ever there was one. If that’s not your scene, a short drive to Havelock North will present even more options — Deliciosa, Malo, Mamacita, Piku, Pipis and St Georges Restaurant all offer incredible menus, filled with outstanding Hawke’s Bay produce.
2000 Retire to your choice of sumptuous retreat accommodation. A hallmark of Hawke’s Bay hospitality, your weary head will find no softer pillow than those at Black Barn Retreats, The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Craggy Range, Te Mata House, Managapapa Hotel, The Manse and Kiwiesque.
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Article originally written and published in NZ Herald Travel