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Hawkes Bay Road Trips

Gisborne to Napier

Leaving Gisborne through Makaraka and Matawhero, turn left onto SH2 south through Manutuke. Take the Muriwai left turn out to the coast. It was here that Cook's cabin boy, Nicholas Young, is said to have first spotted land; a sharp promontory which Captain Cook promptly named Young Nick's Head.

Forging further south we pass through the small settlement of Bartletts before turning inland through the Wharerata Forest. Emerging on the other side we pass Morere, which has a scenic reserve, camping ground and places for picnics.

As we arrive at Nuhaka and the northern shores of Hawke Bay, a good place to explore is the Mahia Peninsula. Be aware that the unsealed roads are quite long – up to 40km to Ahuriri Point – so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the region. There is a lovely north facing scenic reserve at Mahia. If you run out of time, there are camping grounds at Mahia Beach and Opoutama.

The road west from Nuhaka passes through Whakai and past Tuhara before coming to the town of Wairoa at the mouth of the Wairoa River.

From here you could take a side trip to the wonderful Lake Waikaremoana with its great walking track.

Leaving Wairoa, the road travels inland through Ohinepaka before emerging on the coast again at Waihua Beach. Take the short drive to the bay to gain a perspective of the enormous scale of Hawke Bay.

Back on the road west we are about to take the road inland for the longest stretch before reaching the coast again at Tangoio.

There is a great stop off at Tutira, which has a picturesque wildlife reserve with nature walks and a camping ground. After you reach the coast, it's a gentle 20km drive south along Whirinaki, Bay View and Westshore beaches into Napier.

Napier to Porangahau

Leaving Napier, carry on down SH2 for about 20 minutes and you come to Napier's twin city of Hastings. Take in its nearby orchards, wineries and local cuisine.

Just south of Hastings, Havelock North is an area rich in wineries and outdoor activities such as hot-air ballooning.

Back on SH2, go south through the locales of Opapa, Pukehou, and Otane before arriving at Waipawa, a farming town. It also has roads that lead to the secluded beaches of Kairakau and Mangakuri.

Eight kilometres south of Waipawa is another farming town of Waipukurau, where excellent trout fishing in the Tukituki River can yield some big catches!

From Waipukurau, head east to the Te Angiangi Marine Reserve on the coast. Divers will love the abundant fish and plant life within its boundaries.

Another route from Waipukurau, is the road to Porangahau, which is the southernmost town in Hawke's Bay. Soak up the country atmosphere and take in the laidback lifestyle.

It is recommended that you have detailed road maps before departing on your trip