25 Apr 2017
Sun, cheese, wine and great sights – Napier to Gisborne
The sun was shining in sunny Hawkes Bay when we woke, and we went for a walk along the beach in front of Marine Parade to start the day. As the Art Deco capital, Napier has a unique, colourful 1930s streetscape which is fun to explore. We took in the funky architecture as we waited for fresh coffee, and then returned to the beachfront to hire some bicycles.
Flat coastline and extensive paved cycleways make Napier a fantastic spot for cycling. We hired bikes from Fishbike, a quirky bicycle hire located right on the waterfront. Here, there is a range of options and prices, including tandem bikes for families or couples. We went for a faster alternative, and took some electric bikes for a spin. Hawkes Bay is renowned for its wine- producing region, so we sped off along the coast to see what it has to offer.
By lunchtime, we made it to Crab Farm Winery, where we enjoyed a cheese platter and a glass of wine. We loved the relaxed, low-key atmosphere here, and felt free to explore the vineyard and surrounding landscape. There are plenty of excellent wineries in the region, as well as lots of great walks, so it’s a great region to explore if you’re wanting to be outdoors. We zoomed back to town, and to our trusty camper.
After a bit of road-trip planning, we decided we would head north-east briefly, before continuing our journey south. The East Cape of the North Island has always been on our bucket list, and with Gisborne (one of the gateways to the East Cape) just three hours from Napier, it was an easy commitment to make.
The first leg of the journey took us past the pretty Lake Tutira and the turn off to Waipatiki Beach. We then crossed over the Mohaka River, which is known for its fishing, kayaking and rafting adventures. Wairoa, memorable for the lighthouse in its main street, provided a great pit stop for us. Oslers Bakery, located on the main street, is famous for its pies and baked goods. Along with half of the town’s population, we bought our pies and sat on the banks of the Wairoa river to enjoy them. We left the small kiwi town to continue for just over an hour to Gisborne.
In Gisborne, we had made a reservation for our camper at the Waikanae Top Ten Holiday Park. Gisborne also has a campground within their Showgrounds, but we have stayed at Top Ten Holiday parks elsewhere in New Zealand and they have always proved to be very affordable and clean. Here, they have cabins and units for everyone - the traveller, families, couples, groups of friends - as well as lots of facilities to use for free. The location next to the beach, plus wifi accessibility and use of a games room and BBQ made this a great overnight stay. We had a barbecue dinner and got chatting to other travellers who were also making use of the facilities, then retired after a long day.