Hawke’s Bay: It's like being welcomed home, even though you've never lived there
Hawke’s Bay is one of those regions where I find every time I go there, there is something that makes me fall in love with it even more. It’s like you’re being welcomed home, even though you’ve never lived there.
Make sure you take an empty tummy for all the glorious food you’ll eat, and be prepared to have your socks knocked off with some of the best and most beautiful wineries in the world (look, I’m not saying I’m a global wine expert, but I’m backing myself with that statement).
The day I went to Craggy Range last year I was seriously thinking about ways I could somehow hide in the Sofia Room and become a professional red wine drinker for the rest of my days.
It’s a region where you can feel the pride of what the community does, and see how it rallies together to create experiences that complement and support each other - which is just fantastic.
At the Food and Wine Classic (F.A.W.C!), you get to see this first-hand. From the Friday night party out at Black Barn to the gloriously long lunch at Mission Estate, and the epic Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market and everything in between, your schedule will be jam-packed with food, some wine, some food, and some wine to wash that food down with!
And you know what goes really well with food and wine? Great company. Meeting the locals who take so much pride in what they do is a real highlight. A visit to Smith & Sheth wine bar and cellar door is a must for this. I love the fact that you can go to a wine tasting without the pressure of feeling like you have to be a wine expert - because you know what? If you like wine then you ARE an expert (well that’s what I learnt anyway haha).
I’m heading back up to run the Hawke’s Bay Marathon in May - which I am so excited about! It takes you along the beautiful waterfront in Napier and then along some of the region’s amazing cycle trails through the vineyards. And a marathon that finishes at a winery (Elephant Hill) sounds like my kind of marathon!
I haven’t even mentioned the beaches! I’ve spent a bit of time at Ocean Beach and Waimarama and both are absolutely stunning. A bit of a drive north is Mahia - one of the coolest little beachside towns in New Zealand (and this time I consider myself a beach expert so I DEFINITELY stand by this statement).
I also believe every music/concert lover should put a show at Mission Estate on their bucket list. We saw Sir Elton John there last year and man what a night that was.
My friends and I (all city girls) have a running joke (well it’s not a joke per se, it’s actually the truth) that you can’t beat the regions. And a long weekend in Hawke’s Bay with the squad always has us thinking we should all move there. I have no doubt we’ll be plotting this again for our return in May.