This is going to be a long post 😀 so bear with us! We fell in love with Hawke’s Bay, so much so that we were looking at property listings. We kid you not!
Hawke’s Bay is basically made up of five neighbourhoods. Although we only covered 3 (Napier, Hastings and Havelock North), that was enough to keep us very occupied for the entire week.
This region is prefect for any travellers (or home seekers :P). Warm sunny climate, surrounded by award-winning vineyards and stunning landscapes, it was no surprise why we chose to stay here for a week.
Director of Accommodation did it again! The AirBnb she has chosen for this leg was superb! Tastefully decorated, light-filled studio that looked on to a charming manicured garden. We loved lazing in bed every morning with the blinds opened whilst admiring the lovely view.
The perfectly appointed studio in Havelock North even had a tennis court and swimming pool at the backyard for guests to enjoy in the summer. How wonderful!
Now, let’s talk about Hawke’s Bay vineyards.
We bet the french missionaries didn’t know that one day Hawke’s Bay would produce award-winning wines when they planted the region’s first vines in 1851! Ha!
Craggy Range was the first vineyard we handpicked out of the 70 odd wineries in this region. The views of Te Mata Peak form the perfect backdrop for this family-run vineyard.
The knowledgable Cellar Manager patiently introduced the 6 selected wines to us while we basked in the sun with a delightful platter of charcuterie. Man…all wine tasting experience should be as relaxing and unhurried as this!
The next vineyard on our list was Elephant Hill estate, which came highly recommended by our AirBnB host for the yummy food and view. The award-winning restaurant sure didn’t disappoint as we had the best lunch facing the idyllic Te Awanga coast. The Pacific Oysters and the Wagyu tartare with quail egg and black mustard ice cream were out of this world! And they paired beautifully with the limited edition 2017 Elephant Hill – Sea Viognier. We were in heaven ~~~
Black Barn was another recommended vineyard by our host. We got a little lazy with wine tasting and went straight to the Black Barn Bistro. There was something sublime about sitting in the laid-back bistro overlooking the endless walls of grape vines whilst devouring the palatable dishes created by head chef, Jason Brown.
This boutique vineyard was the ideal place for us to spend the afternoon lazing and dreaming what our life will be like if we were to relocate here. After all, Walt Disney did say that, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them”.
Guilty of committing one of the seven deadly sins – Gluttony, we desperately needed to redeem ourselves by exercising.
That said, the PekaPeka Wetlands walk was hardly exercising! 😛 It was a pleasant and easy walk to get us acquainted with New Zealand’s diverse flora and fauna. The panoramic view of the valley captured on our cameras could easily pass off as desktop screensavers. Don’t you agree?
Maraetotara Falls was another easy walk we did. 10 mins walk from the Maraetotara Falls carpark and we were at the foot of the popular Hawke’s Bay waterfall. It was pretty obvious why the locals enjoy swimming in the pool over summer.
Determined to get some workout done, some tramping was necessary at the “Sleeping Giant”. Te Mata Park and its peak are legendary in Hawke’s Bay. According to the local legend, the outline of the hills resemble the body of Waimarama chief, Te Mata lying down thus it was named as the “Sleeping Giant”.
There were 5 walking tracks to choose from depending on the fitness of each individual. We chose the Giant Circuit (5.4km, appox 2h15min), which was the outer loop of the park as it promised a sustainable workout with challenging ‘Snakes & Ladders’ paths and steep sections.
It was definitely a challenging walk for people who have Acrophobia (fear of heights). Anxious May was navigating the steep and narrow sections of the walk with baby steps whilst the locals effortlessly sprinted passed her. It was quite hilarious trying to get her to enjoy the spectacular views of the horizon while she was almost crawling on all fours. 😀
Kudos to May’s effort and sheer determination, we managed to complete the loop walk ascending to Te Mata Peak, spinning around the steep ‘snakes and ladders” and strolling through the grove of Redwood trees in just under 3hrs. What a fantastic walk!
Located 20min drive south of Hawke’s Bay is the Art Deco City of Napier. The streets of this attractive 1930s style town were such an architectural marvel. Although, we have never been to Miami, strolling around Napier while taking in the sights and sounds of the most comprehensive Art Deco styled town in the world was enough to impress us.
Wherever we travel in the world, we love visiting the weekend or farmers markets. These markets give us an opportunity to connect with the local community and sample their local produce.
Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market is a popular Sunday market that we wouldn’t miss. The freshly roasted coffee, fresh fruits and vegetables, cheeses, meat, sweet cakes, wine and cider were excellent stimulants for our senses. With our bellies full and the busker music serenading us in the background, we knew it was time to say our goodbyes to this quaint place. Till we meet again, Hawke’s Bay!