Where to stay in: Hawke’s Bay
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Well, they call it a farm, but there’s no need to bring your gumboots – just your appetite. Against a background of elegant luxury, the focus is on making the absolute best of the region’s prime produce, from the sheep and cattle in the paddocks outside and the fish in the sea beyond the cliffs, to the harvest from the lodge’s own vegetable garden and the wine from the many famous Hawke’s Bay vineyards. The philosophy is DIY: cereals, bread, pastries, ice-cream, it’s all home-made and the seasonal menu changes daily. Dine privately or with fellow guests in the dining room with its dramatic views of 24.25 square kilometres of tussock, a sweeping golf course and rural landscape.
Located 244 metres above the sea, backed by rolling hills slashed by ravines, The Farm sits on a peninsula that ends with the white cliffs of Cape Kidnappers. Here you can visit the gannet colony, one of very few worldwide to be so accessible; birds also feature in the conservation area, where 80 kiwi live safe from predators. Worried about missing a meal out there? Take a gourmet picnic.
Suitably farm-type activities include clay-pigeon shooting, a 4WD tour and mountain biking, but the spa offers unashamed pampering for men as well as women, although with face-saving macho names such as Stress Release Back Treatment, and Deep Tissue Golf Massage. Go on, have the Men’s Manicure, why don’t you? Buffed nails look so good holding a glass of full-bodied Hawke’s Bay red over dinner in the Wine Cellar.
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When your host is a chef, you know you’re going to eat well. When that chef is Malcolm Redmond, you can also be sure that you will be eating low food-mile, often home-grown produce that’s organic and bursting with flavour. From raspberries to radishes, avocados to asparagus, seafood to steak, Malcolm knows how to pick it, and how to cook it. What’s more, he’ll show you at one of his cooking classes in this purpose-built and eco-friendly five-star luxury lodge.
From the three-storey viewing turret at this distinctive and welcoming Victorian country villa, you can see for miles over the rich countryside of the Hawke’s Bay all the way to Te Mata Peak. Make yourself at home in the suites or the cottage, take breakfast on the veranda, lunch in the gardens and dinner in the wood-panelled dining room before a whisky by the fire. Play the 19th century country squire as you stroll the extensive gardens, relax on the veranda or rack them up on the billiards table. Or you can rack yourself in the gym. Either way, enjoy the peace and pampering in tranquil surroundings that have hosted royalty.
Things to see and do in Hawke’s Bay
New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region, Hawke’s Bay is home to some of the country’s best wineries – Church Road, Craggy Range, Clearview, Mission Estate, Black Barn… the list goes on. The only sensible response is to take a tasting tour.
F.A.W.C! stands for Food and Wine Classic and it’s a Hawke’s Bay initiative bringing together food and wine producers with enthusiastic consumers at a series of events around the region. The winter event runs throughout June; and the summer event runs in November.
Everything grows well in this region and there’s no shortage of venues for fine dining to take advantage of local produce – Napier and Havelock North have an embarrassment of excellent restaurants.
Napier rebuilt itself as an Art Deco city after an earthquake in 1931 and in February every year the Art Deco Weekend celebrates the period in more than 200 events spread over a week. The Hawke’s Bay Toyota Winter Deco Weekend will take place this year on 17-19 July on the 30th anniversary of the Art Deco Trust.
Single-minded people here focus on doing one thing very well, whether it’s honey, ice-cream, cheese, chocolate, bacon… weekend markets in Napier and Hastings are a great way to sample their specialties.
What better way to enjoy Hawke’s Bay scenery, wine and food than on a progressive dinner tour beginning with sunset and bubbles on Te Mata Peak? It’s all downhill from there.
Other regions to consider