The vineyards are another draw to the Hawkes Bay area, and coincidentally it is the birthplace of New Zealand wine after French missionaries settled here in 1851, now the Mission Estate. Set in-between beautiful, steep, green rolling hills the connoisseur and the novice will not be disappointed. Many vineyards have cafes, with visas to soften the heart. Travelling with small children we have seen people raise their eyebrows when we mention our love of the vine and wine tasting, but having children doesn’t mean you have to stop your favourite activities. Of course, we haven’t been able to take any long, languishing, inebriated lunches, but a quick stop for some tastings can be educational, and good fun. We stopped at Clearview Estate at Te Awanga, near Hastings, a particularly children-friendly vineyard with chicken scratching around and a playground.
One final stop worth making is at the top of the Te Mata Peak, about 16km from Havelock North. You could just go for the spectacular view the summit commands over Hawkes Bay, or spend some time hiking the various paths that criss-cross over this rugged cliff.
Where to stay: The owners of the Mission B&B are very welcoming, and they know their wines.