Have you heard of Hawke's Bay?

If you read my blog regularly then you may know that Hawke's Bay is very dear to my heart. Click here to see some of the previous mentions. I was born there and spent many Christmas holidays there staying with my wonderful Nana, swimming in rivers, eating fresh fruit straight from the orchards, playing with lambs and goats, touring the old homes and gardens of the area. It's truly the place of many of my childhood memories so going there is a must each time I return home to New Zealand. My family moved to Auckland when I was just a year old. Luckily I still have family to visit in Hawkes Bay.

The Bay was destination # 2 on our road trip. We drove over a little known road called The Gentle Annie by locals (officially the Taihape-Napier Highway I think). What a brilliant road! Apart from the twist and turns and not one single town to stop at the entire way it is one of the most picturesque roads I've ever driven on. I think Noodle has all the photos on his camera but you can check it out here. The road is tar-sealed the whole way, a huge project that was just completed this year. I was not keen on driving on a dirt road for three hours.

We had just one weekend in Hawke's Bay so we had to pack it all in. Saturday morning we visited a petting farm: Hawkes Bay Farmyard Zoo. Who doesn't love feeding slobbery alpaca and cuddly lambs? The highlight of this excursion were Danny and Pebbles, the ponies! My boys' first-ever pony-riding experience.

Pebbles and Danny, the ponies.

We had a really fun morning here. My tips: wear gumboots, be prepared to get dirty, wear old clothes. It is a farm after all! (We packed our own morning tea complete with a thermos of hot coffee. Take a newspaper to sit on unless you don't mind sitting on duck poop).

Little Guy wanted to bring these cuties home.

After a yummy lunch of pies and lamingtons (what else?) we headed over to Napier. It was funny weather with a giant cover of sea mist rolling in. Our plan was to go to the outdoor hot pools, Ocean Spa. We were a bit skeptical when we drove up and saw the life guards all rugged up in long trousers, big ski jackets and beanies! But it was amazing! The misty fog and the steam made everything quite mysterious. Apart from the mad dash to get in and out of the water, brrrr, it was a really fun and relaxing afternoon. Top on my list of places to visit again. (and of course, no pictures of ME in my swimsuit).

We ended the day at the local sushi take-out restaurant. My kids were excited about that and although they had slightly different things from what we are used to it was a little taste of home for my boys. Plus they loved teaching my uncle how to use chopsticks.

Uncle has not used chopsticks before? no way!


  1. My grandparents lived in Napier until the start of this year. We used to go there every year for summer holidays... the places you mention bring back such great memories! Unfortunately we have no family left living there, but it is definitely an area I would like to go back to when we visit NZ again in the future. Love the pools!


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