We drove out to te awanga which is 15 minutes south of napier near cape kidnappers. There are some fantastic wineries out there including "Elephant Hill" and "clearview" which were really cool. They're right on the coast and we rented these awesome retro cruiser bikes from "Coastal wine cycles" who have only opened this year. you can cruise along a dedicated cycle track along the edge of the coast and amongst the vines. It was really pretty out there and very chiilled out vibe. Next time we go there we'll go out on the tractor along the coast to get to the ganet colony but you need to ring ahead as they time their trips according to the tide.
An excellent way to view Napier and Hastings, from Mahia to Cape Kidnappers. Sugar Loaf Hill is part of Sugar Loaf Reserve in Napier. You can get to the top 2 ways. This is a kid friendly walk, the harder one and of course the easier one.
1 way is to park at Church Road Winery, 150 Church Road
Mission View, Hawkes Bay 4112, taste some wine, relax in the grassy area's and then work your way up. Or enjoy the wine at the top! Park in their parking lot, walk through the grass park area to the right, towards the road. Walk up along Tironui Drive. The entrance is to the left, there are steps for you to climb over the fence. This path winds back and forth and up Sugar Loaf Hill. This is the harder of the 2 options, but the walk is short.
The 2nd way is to turn right onto Tironui Drive from Church Road before the winery. Drive up Tironui until you see the Reserve sign on your left hand side. You can park there and take a short walk up.
This gives you a rare view of mountains, hills, towns, ocean, etc etc. From the summit, the four-hectare reserve affords views out over Napier, Taradale and much of the Heretaunga Plains. The Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges can be seen to the west. It's a great place to take a picnic sit and enjoy the view!
This gannet colony is rather famous, as it is rather large and said to be the most accessible gannet colony in the world, as almost all are on offshore islands. It is only possible to walk there yourself at low tide. It's 3 hours walk to the beach (commencing at Clifton), 1.5 hours to climb the plateau, and 3 hours return.
We found the best way was to go by 4wd bus Safari (there is also a tractor tour along the beach but because we weren't sure how good the weather was going to be, we chose the 4WD Safari.
The best months to go are Nov - Feb.
. . . take a chance, get lost, drive up and all over Bluff Hill, Central Hill and Hospital Hill, criss cross Scinde Island via Shakespeare Road and others that use the gullies, some truly beautiful examples of old pre earthquake architecture, walk around Ahuriri, especially early morning for the light if you are a photographer. Hospital Hill's Main Street where Corunna Bay was before the earthquake, the oldest settled area in Napier I believe. Check out the Art Galleries. There are a couple of goodies. Drive to Havelock North, find Middle Road and drive south for an hour or . . . especially late afternoon for great photographic light, cross over to Waipawa and drive back to Napier via Fernhill. If you really want to get off the beaten track, drive West and find the Gentle Annie, a true pioneering road. The Esk River Valley has some great spots to explore and the Eskdale Park has good swimming holes. Clive, Poraiati, FernHill, Bridge Pa, all good adventures. Don't forget to take a thermos of tea and some sandwiches or be creative with a picnic lunch. I know the area like the back of my hand, I grew up here before disappearing to Sydney, New York and Venice Beach. Slap on the sunscreen though! Cancer capital of the world I hear.
Marthas Vineyard is a coastal area in Napier (near the airport) that has vineyards and lavender fields.It is a nice place to bike or hike (tramp). We considered buying this 5 hectre lot that was once a part of a large farm. It is now subdivided for lifestyle homesites with stunning ocean views.
Mahia Peninsula is situated between Napier and Gisborne. It is about a 2 hour drive from Napier (1 hour from Gisborne) along SH 2; in Nuhaka is a turn off to the peninsula. The scenic roads follows Hawkes Bay.
Through an isthmus we did reach the settlement of Mahia Beach with a very wide sandy beach. Although we were in the middle of the summer we didn’t see anybody; almost unbelievable.
On the north/east side is another road along the coast. And the scenery is completely different with rocky beaches and bizarre rock formations. Elsewhere we found a lot of rock pools and almost at the end of the road at Auroa Point again huge rocky platforms and small pools with sea urchins and sea horses.
In the inland of the peninsula is a track through coastal forest in the Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve. From Mahia follow the gravel road for 7 km's to a car park.
A very beautiful piece of New Zealand and so unknown. In the meantime is Mahia one of our favourite spots.
For more info and pics see my Gisborne page.
If you have your own transport, you should be able to make your way through the winding streets of Bluff Hill, to the Bluff Hill Domain. Here you can park and get an expansive view of Hawke Bay (the marine feature) and Hawkes Bay (the name of the region - the land bit). You can't get that good a view of Napier city centre from here.
The drive up to the domain will take you throught a suburb of stately old wooden villas dating back to the early twentieth century. Remarkably this area apparently survived pretty much intact in 1931.
If you look west, you will see the large area of 'new land' that the earthquake reclaimed from the sea.
Perhaps you know the advertising slogan: “Pure New Zealand” ??
We think the deviser(s) have been on the so called ‘Gentle Annie Road’ between Napier and Waiouru (near Tongariro National Park). We did drive this mostly gravel road through the inland of New Zealand and we were very impressed of the scenery.
It was so pure, so real, so original.
The road is about 100 km’s long and we didn’t see almost no human beings and no cars at all. Just a couple of farm houses and somewhere along the road thousands of sheep. All the way there are amazing green hills, fantastic river valleys and forests.
Just: PURE NEW ZEALAND !!!
Never expected, but this was one of the most beautiful parts of the country.
Coming back from Cape Kidnappers during our bus tour, we had some stunning views on beaches along the Pacific Ocean. We decided to ‘search’ them. We drove through the very scenic valley of the Tukituki River beneath Te Mata Peak.
First we reached Ocean Beach, a lovely beach with fine sand; another 10 km’s further away is the beach of Waimarama. Both are very remote and we are sure you will be (almost) on your own when visiting one of these beaches.
This beaches are about 30 minutes drive from Napier.
Hastings also was also hit by the earth quake of 1931. But the city doesn’t count as much art deco buildings as Napier. There are some nice cornices along the main shopping street. So we 'always' had to look upwards to discover these art deco elements.
Perhaps a more outstanding feature in Hastings is the railway, which divides the main street in two parts without having level-crossing gates or lights !!
Hastings has some nice shops: all together a pleasant half day trip from Napier.
When you are finished with your art deco walk or shopping tour, make your way to the lovely Clive Square.
A shady picturesque spot in the heart of the city, opposite the Art Deco Shop.
Just sit down on one of the benches and enjoy this city park.
When I stayed with friends in Napier, they took me up here for the fantastic views. You can see for miles and miles in all directions.
To get to Te Mata Peak drive from Hastings to Havelock North where you will then see the long ridge of limestone bluffs which make up the 399m Te Mata Peak. The long and winding road ( echo's of a song coming on here !!) climbs up the hill to the vantage point at the top where you can see across the fertile plains north across to Hawke's Bay and Cape Kidnappers, and east to Ocean Beach and Waimarama the main swimming beaches for Hastings and Havelock North.
When we were there, a number of tandem paragliders were leaping off the Peak.
Peak Paragliding tel: 06/843 4717 & 025/512 886 prices from $NZ120
My friends son mountain bikes down here, (he is a mature young man)
I had an extra day to kill in Napier, so I took a wine tour. The 2 best wineries I visited were Esk Valley and Ngatarawa. Although I am not a big fan of white wine both of these vinyards had great-tasting whites.
There are wine tour brochures in the hotels and the Visitor's Centre.
Bird enthusiasts should plan to visit nearby Cape Kidnapper Gannet Reserve: Gannets (related to pelicans) nest there from October to April. Contains the largest, most accessible mainland colony in the world.
You'll need to rent a car, or find someone to drive you, but this short journey is worth it.
Venture south from Napier, to the small town of Havelock North. Just about 3kms out of town, is Te Mata Peak. From up here you get a lovely view over the flatland and out to sea. You get to view a classic New Zealand river and depending on the time of year will depend on whether the farmland is luscious green or golden brown.
This peak is used for parapenting, hang gliding and model flying also.