A Cool Day in Hawke’s Bay

Welcome to Cape Kidnappers sign, Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay

A Cool Day in Hawke’s Bay

Some unseasonably gloomy weather of late has inspired me to share with you a few ideas about what you could do if you find yourself visiting Hawkes Bay sans sunshine. So, rug up, and let’s get started!

Take a leisurely drive to the seaside settlement of Te Awanga. Start by winding slowly through the streets, dotted with charming cottages, down by the sea. This done, take a left turn back onto Clifton Road & drive for just a few minutes to where the ocean dictates the road’s end. This unpretentious spot where the road runs out might well be your best view of Cape Kidnappers – certainly the closest, unless taking an off-road tour to the gannet colony or paying for a five-star experience at the nearby golf course.

Refreshment time and you’re spoilt for choice on Clifton Road. There’s Hygge, a popular new café, serving locally-sourced food & ingredients. Or if wine tasting is your thing, and it’s lunch you’re after, combine the two at either Clearview Estate Winery or Elephant Hill. If French antiques, the vintage vibe, or an industrial look feature in your home interior, and frankly even if they don’t, you must stop at So Vintage. Word has it that this little gem has a substantial big city following – and here it is nestled quietly in our very own Te Awanga!

If you’re heading off and still haven’t had your caffeine fix, grab a great coffee and a scrummy eat-treat at the Brown Dog Expresso caravan – still on Clifton Road, but in Haumoana this time. Finally, it’s time to visit the home studio of Haumoana artists Ema Scott and Stephen Wheeler, to view their beautiful stone sculptures. Make sure you have saved some space in your car-boot and pre-arranged this visit to Stonepeace. You won’t be disappointed!
As you drive away, after a satisfying part-day spent in this region, you’ll no doubt observe plenty of action of a two-wheel kind on the bike tracks that line this route. Enjoy the warmth of your vehicle whilst making a mental note to self to pursue this activity once the weather brightens. That’s another blog!

Head down Middle Road, Havelock North, to Birdwoods Gallery. This must-see destination, set in a relocated and restored church, is popular with locals and visitors alike. Here, they do hospitality with charm, quirkiness – and a touch of humour. The owners support artisans from their homeland of Zimbabwe by providing a market for their goods. In the gallery, sitting alongside these Zimbabwean wares are all manner of beautiful crafts, jewelry, homeware and furniture items sourced both locally and throughout New Zealand. A light snack or lunch here is a must. The food is delicious; fresh & seasonal. Coffee & tea are served with panache on a tray, complete with silverware. Once you’ve sampled this fine fare and completed your browsing/shopping, rug up again for a wander outside through The Sculpture Garden. Before you leave, take the opportunity to relive that ‘kid in a candy store’ experience of your youth. Check out the vast selection in the tiny & charming Birdwoods Sweet Shop and come away with a bag of your favourite pick n mix.

Visit the MTG in Napier. It’s the one with the ceramic pinhead installation on its Marine Parade façade. This place is warm & welcoming and, more importantly, interesting – and free! Whether you’re an art-lover or a person with an interest in the history of people, places and things, there is always a range of exhibitions to enjoy, perhaps to challenge and certainly to learn from. Two popular permanent exhibitions anchor this space, one showcasing our Taonga Maori and the other, a descriptive account of the 1931 earthquake and its effect on this region. Up to seven exhibitions run concurrently in the additional spaces, with most giving a nod to Hawke’s Bay either in content or because the artist hails from this place. If these don’t enthrall you, you can steal a bird’s eye view of the comings and goings on Marine Parade or Herschell Street from the second-story windows; watch the time-lapse video of the Pin Wall installation – or make a start on your Christmas shopping. The shop has plenty of tasteful kiwiana and some of the best cards in the city.

Check out what’s on at Napier’s quaint little movie space, the Globe Theatrette, nestled behind some quietly cool eateries in Ahuriri. Snuggle-up on a two-seater in the back row with a plunge-pot of coffee, or a wine & pizza, and savor the ambiance extraordinaire. A fab film is the bonus!