Yes it’s beautiful, filled with creative people doing interesting things and the architecture is enough to make any art-deco buff weep with joy, but it’s food and drink that Hawke’s Bay does better than anywhere else does in Aotearoa.
The 14,000km² region on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island includes the port city of Napier as well as the districts of Wairoa, Hastings and Central Hawke’s Bay. It’s home to a total of 155,000 people – and is perfectly situated for producing high-quality fruit and veges, for farming sheep and cattle, for fishing for kai moana and for creating award-winning wines. The locals certainly make the most of their location. Wineries have set up award-winning restaurants with phenomenal views; chefs have opened their own tiny eateries and turn out some of the most innovative cuisine in the country. One-man-band food producers are dotted all over the area.
Here are some of Urbis’ recommendations for hot spots to eat, drink, shop and visit in and around this creative and picturesque city. (Read more in Urbis issue #75, out now)
- Hastings Farmers’ Market: The country’s oldest farmers’ market is held every Sunday (8.30am - 12.30pm) at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds in Hastings. It’s the place to go for fresh produce, artisanal breads, chocolates, olive oil and great coffee.
- Museum, Theatre, Gallery Hawke’s Bay: Visit this renovated public space to see some of the country’s best Mãori taonga, decorative arts and new, site-specific works by artists like Sara Hughes.
- Cape Kidnappers: The golf course her is ranked 3rd out of the 100 best golf courses in the world and the boutique accommodation and scenery at the The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is phenomenal too.
- Hawke’s Bay Opera House: A successful mix of Spanish mission, art-deco and contemporary architectural design, this venue hosts local and travelling productions.
- Waimarama Beach: It’s not the only beach in Hawke’s Bay, but it’s one of the nicest, most laid-back, golden-sand spots in the country.
EAT & DRINK
- Emporium: Part of the recently refurbished, art-deco Masonic Hotel, this Napier eatery serves up shared plates of fresh-fish sliders and chicken croquettes.
- Mister D: Just a year old, Mister D has quickly become the place to dine in Napier. Stylish dining room, insteresting dishes and donuts to die for!
- Deliciosa: Head to this tapas bar in Havelock North for excellent small plates of crispy duck in blueberry sauce, beef quesadillas and pork belly.
- Craggy Range: A visit to Hawke’s Bay wouldn’t be complete without a meal at this Havelock North winery, where you’ll find jaw-dropping views of Te Mata peak and the best wood-fire-roasted flounder in the country.
- Pacifica: Owned by Jeremy Ramaka, this Marine Parade dining room is serving the most innovative cuisine in the region.
- Milk & Honey: The best café in Ahuriri, Napier’s hippest nabe, has a bistro menu with an Italian bentand locally roasted Hawthorne coffee.
GALLERIES & SHOPS
- David Trubridge: The renowned maker’s design studio and showroom in Hastings also sports a shop where lighting, furniture, rugs and jewellery are for sale.
- Aroha & Friends: Fashion and art coexist in this chic Ahuriri store run by artists Rakai Karaitiana and Melaina Newport.
- So Vintage: It’s by appointment only, but this Te Awanga warehouse filled with vintage furniture, industrial lighting and kitchenware from Paris is well worth a bit of pre-planning.
- Black Barn Gallery: Exhibitions of works of New Zealand contemporary art by Dick Frizzell, Karl Maughan, Deborah Smith and Martin Poppelwell can be found at this boutique gallery.
- Hastings City Art Gallery: Admission is free at this small gallery, which features local artists and visiting exhibitions from other parts of the country.
Urbis travelled to Hawke’s Bay courtesy of Hawke’s Bay Tourism. To find out more about Hawke’s Bay, go to hawkesbaynz.com