We had such an amazing trip to Hawke’s Bay over the weekend, it’s only about 2 hour drive from Palmy, it would have been much quicker and easier if Manawatu Gorge wasn’t blocked due to the land slide. The drive on Saddle Road near the wind farm was crazy, mostly near the cliff and with a posted speed limit sign of 70KPH, who can drive on these windy roads at that speed? Anyway, the view was fantastic though and weather was just beautiful.
We left the house around 11am on Saturday, boys were fed but they didn’t sleep at all in the car, they were quite entertained by the Mickey Mouse Club although by the end of the trip we were all tired of listening to it. We decided to go to Te Mata Peak first and found Havelock North was such a pretty town, the road towards the peak was by far the most scary ride I’ve ever seen in my life, and it’s even harder to believe that the cyclists ride there as well. Basically it’s one turn after another and at some curves we had to stop to make sure there’s no car coming the other way. However the view on top is indeed worthwhile the drive, since the weather was really lovely, we could see Hastings and Napier and the ocean, it’s breathtaking.
When we got in Napier, it was close to 3pm already, I fed the boys and we decided to take them for a walk on Marine Parade, Hotel Scenic Te Pania is at a great location, close to the playground and city center. All weekend we didn’t have a chance to explore the city center. Napier is the Art Deco capital, a city that was completely destroyed in 1931 due to a huge earthquake and was rebuilt completely. Hawke’s Bay area in general is the wine country and has a lot of organic farming so it is famous for its food and wine. Michael and I stumbled upon this Chinese place called Singapore restaurant and they had a vegetarian menu, we ordered the vegetarian BBQ pork, and absolutely loved it, the imitation pork looks and tastes just like pork and even has the skin, fat and lean part, amazing! A few doors down is the Chantal organic shop that I was trying to find, we ended up eating breakfast here the following morning, it was fabulous, they had outdoor seating so we were able to eat with the boys and walked back to the hotel which is 2 blocks away.
Boys really enjoyed the rocks we found on the beach, maybe its due to the volcanic nature the beach is completely rocky with stones all the way to the water so quite different from anything I’ve seen before, Napier has an airport and is a major cruise port for New Zealand so a pretty popular spot, we loved the relaxing walk, and the beautiful gardens along the beach, boys played at the playground for about an hour so they were tired by the time we got back to the hotel. We again threw the two mattresses on the floor and co-slept with the boys, all four of us slept from 9pm to 7am, they didn’t wake up but we did to use the restroom. It was indeed a good day!
After breakfast on Sunday at Chantal, we bought ton of produce and organic supply, then headed back towards Hastings for the farmer’s market, Hastings/Napier farmer’s market is quite famous because of the varieties of the organic farms in Hawke’s Bay, we had a lovely time, the showgrounds is very well maintained and boys could run wild! We bought more peaches, blueberries, and two slices of gelato and boys had their first icecream, with fresh blueberries. I really wish we could live here, so much good food and prices are a lot cheaper than we pay in Palmy.
By the time the farmer’s market closes, it was 12:30 already, we decided to take another detour to visit the Arataki Honey Company which is in Havelock North, only about 10 minutes away. It was a really cute place although they are a commercial honey producer so they don’t produce organic honey, due to the huge volume their 10 beekeepers need to produce. We were told, however, there are local beekeepers we can find. The visitor center was so lovely, and very kids friendly, boys watched the 4-minute film about bees and played quite a bit there. We walked outside Arataki Honey Company and it was sunny, breezy and cool outside, the weather was so lovely…we could definitely see ourselves living in Hawke’s Bay. Right by Arataki Honey, there’s a huge development called Arataki Mews, the houses looked brand new and the neighborhood looked even nicer than Summerhill, we definitely will check out the pricing.
Li was a bit fussy on the way back, so we stopped at Dannevirke, it was the original Danish settlement so the playground has a viking ship, really cool. So boys got out and explored their third new site! After driving through the Saddle Road, we finally got home around 5:30pm, Lin was crying just before we got home doing the milk sign repeatedly, so we made good time to get them fed just in time. It was such a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait to go back already 🙂