The last stop of our little North Island road trip was Hawke’s Bay. We travelled all the way from Auckland down to Kuratau, to Martinborough then Cape Palliser and then slowly made our way up stopping at Castlepoint. Our last destination was Napier.
Like all the other places we’ve visited, I have never been to Hawke’s Bay. I’ve heard great things about it but haven’t had the chance to visit before.
After staying at Castlepoint, we slowly made our way up and stopped at a few places along the way. Our first stop was at Pōrangahau as I wanted to visit the longest place name in the world.
After a few hours, we made it to Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. It’s a small hill within Pōrangahau. We stopped by, stretched our legs and took a photo. I did try to pronounce it a few times. It definitely takes a few tries but one day, along with my te reo classes, I want to feel confident saying this place name out loud.
Our next stop was Waipukurau and we had quite an interesting stop there.
Max ended up driving along the Tukituki river bed and we almost got stuck in it. Thankfully he managed to get the car out of the rocks and we were able to drive back onto the road. I was a bit nervous but we made it out and then we went for a walk to find the swing bridge along the Tukituki trail. A little bird was also stuck in the car’s front grill so Max had to pull it out. Thankfully it was alive and flew away. We had quite an adventure there… Haha
We then made our way to Waimārama where we were initially going to stay for 2 nights. Our plans changed but I’ll get to that a bit later. We continued on with our adventures and this was one of my favourite stops: Maraetotara Falls.
It’s a beautiful waterfall along the Maraetotara river.
The water was so clear. It was also cold but I got in anyway. We’ve spent hours in the car so this stop was quite nice and relaxing. Max jumped off the cliff into the water a few times whilst I stayed in and watched.
Our next stop was Te Mata Peak. The views from up here were great. It’s around 400m above sea level and you can see the vastness of Hawke’s Bay.
It was quite windy up there but also so hot. The heat in Hawke’s Bay was no joke!
After Te Mata Peak, we ended up in Napier and we had a drink at the Emporium at Masonic Hotel as it was too early for our dinner reservation.
Before dinner, I basically stopped functioning because we’ve been in the car for almost 8 hours. Kudos to Max for driving for that long and mostly by himself because I was asleep. We did have a few stops but our day was mostly spent in the car and I slept through the windy roads. We also didn’t have a proper lunch so I wasn’t okay towards the end of the day. Max managed to capture it…
Left was before the food came and right was me after having our entrees and then our mains arriving. I slowly came back to life after eating but we were so exhausted after a whole day of being in the car.
We were supposed to camp for 2 nights at Waimārama but I ended up booking us an Airbnb in central Napier from that night. We didn’t really need to be out by the beach and an hour away from town as our activities for the next few days were around central Napier anyway.
I ended up booking this homestead for the next 2 nights. It was great that I was able to book it so last minute! I think I made the booking around 6:30pm and we checked in after dinner around 8pm. It’s a 1980s homestead and a 2 minute walk to the shops. Such great location and just what we needed.
The next morning, I woke up early and walked to explore the town and grabbed us coffees. I had to visit Pania of the Reef and walked along the beautiful gardens.
I really liked how pretty Napier city is. The gardens, roundabouts and berms have flowers. It’s a beautiful town.
I also really enjoyed walking along the streets to see the beautiful art deco buildings. The architecture here is awesome. It’s such an aesthetically-pleasing town.
I checked out some antique shops and Max and I also did a spot of op-shopping. I ended up buying two pairs of secondhand shoes in Napier. I scored a pair of leather boots in the opshop and a pretty Kathryn Wilson slides from Garment.
Since it was my first time in Hawke’s Bay, Max also took me to The Strawberry Patch and we had the best looking and tasting strawberries. They looked perfect! Then we went to Arataki honey centre. We tried all the different types of honey and I was surprised that they varied so much in taste. I found a new favourite honey which is Tāwari honey. It’s light and sweet like butterscotch. Highly recommend!
If you love seafood, check out Hunger Monger in Napier.
We had a delicious meal there. The kumara miso mash was so good!
The next day we checked out of our homestead Airbnb and checked into a different one in Napier. The reason why we were there was for a wedding.
The hen’s after tea party was at Church Road winery which was a beautiful location and I made a furry friend named Frankie.
The next night was the wedding at Mission Estate which was lovely. Beautiful location, great wine and food. The last 2 days of our trip were with people so I didn’t end up taking a lot of photos. We spent most of our road trip just the two of us so the last 2 days were a bit busy but also good.
I’ll end this post with my favourite photo Max took of me during our Hawke’s Bay trip. This was me at the wedding and after quite a few glasses of the delicious Mission Estate rosé.
The next day we drove back up to Auckland and that was the end of our amazing road trip holiday. I’d love to go back to Hawke’s Bay and explore it more and visit the wineries. We did pack a lot during our whole trip and it was impossible to do everything. It was amazing though and I’d gladly do it all over again.
In 10 days, we travelled from Auckland down to the southern-most point of the North Island and ended our trip on the east coast of the North Island. We did quite a distance and saw/did many things. I really loved our adventures. (We also managed to avoid getting Covid which was awesome!)
We found it hard to choose a favourite but my highlights definitely include seeing the fur seals at Cape Palliser, our quieter days in Martinborough and our sunset walk in Castlepoint. We had a lot of fun and I’m excited for our next adventure. 🙂