We love living here on the doorstep of this vibrant village community, and constantly learning about what there is on offer culturally and in the outdoors.

Now with the onset of Spring, the fabled Hawke's Bay weather has inspired us to reveal some of our favourites in this superb region. So please, scroll through and enjoy a deeper insight into what Havelock North (and beyond) has to offer.

Te Mata Peak

As locals of Te Mata Park we are perhaps guilty of taking this wonderful resource for granted. Te Mata Peak isn’t just a great lookout location, think of it more like a wonderland for outdoor activities.
Anyone who visits Hawke's Bay should place a visit to the park at the top of their to-do list. Te Mata Park is a whole lot more than Te Mata Peak, as hundreds of locals attest weekly! 

Scenic Walking Trails Galore - Te Mata Peak has a huge variety of scenic walks. To see them all, download the free app “MapMyWalk” and query Te Mata Peak, or check out the Te Mata Peak website

The entire park is an off-leash area for dogs too, which is a huge asset and very generous of them - so use it!

Redwoods  - There are 223 Californian redwoods all over 40 metres tall. The redwoods are so charming that around 20 couples get married under them each year.

Mountain Biking - There are several mountain biking trails on the peak that get frequent use. Volunteer teams from the mountain mike clubs put in HUGE volunteer hours to create a wonderful resource for all of us. So use it, and inquire with the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike Club or the Bennelong Mountain Bike Club (a more socially oriented club) for details.

Other Clubs & Communities - Te Mata Peak is a favourite of Hawke's Bay Orienteering, hang gliders and paragliders, and road cyclists. (Thanks dubh for the image). Watching these guys is almost as nail biting as actually jumping off yourself!

Cool Art

Birdwoods Gallery - This gallery looks humble from the road but packs a mighty punch. Only 3km from the village, Birdwoods has extensive grounds on which they’ve put a comprehensive sculpture garden and gallery. There’s also a specialist sweet shop with a huge selection. Birdwoods’ TripAdvisor reviews are very strong, so pay a visit and find out why.

Ricks Terstappen - A hugely popular and esteemed local artist who makes spectacular (and often large!) metal sculptures. There is a selection of sculptures throughout the grounds which can be seen by appointment. If you are looking for sculptures for your garden or home, visit Ricks and view his style for yourself. To view, contact Ricks Terstappen at 021 269 8696.

Keirunga Gardens Creative Hub - Set in the stunning 17 hectare Keirunga Garden Park is the thriving Creative Hub. There you can attend classes on theatre, pottery, quilting, folk art, embroidery, book arts, painting, miniatures, Morris Dancing, photography, and writing.

If you have been wanting to be more creative then this place is buzzing, so go along and dip your toes in the water.

Cape Kidnappers
A trip out to the end of the Cape Kidnappers peninsula takes you past incredible cliffs that expose millions of years of the geological history of our land. Strata cracked by earthquakes show history spanning back to when the Cape was part of a tropical sea bed!

Gannet Beach Adventures - Tours meet at Clifton at low tide. There you jump aboard a trailer towed by a 1949 Minneapolis-Moline tractor and embark on a fantastic half day of photography, history, swimming and experiencing the gannets fishing and nesting. A highly recommended day out for all ages.

Gannet Safaris Overland - A 4X4 tour which traverses the stunning Cape Kidnapper Station, home of the famous Cape Kidnappers Golf Course. A scenic tour which will drive you up to the cordon rope at each colony.
Alternatively, if you get the tides right, you can do the journey on foot.This is a glorious walk along the beach, two hours there and two hours back, plus swimming time. Give yourself a further hour for lunch and gannet viewing at the Cape of course!
Cool Places to Visit

Mohi Bush - Coastal native bush close to Havelock North? Yep, we have it, and the drive out there is spectacular too, with limestone outcrops and  rugged landscapes like a real-life Lord of the Rings set. At Mohi there is original bush and easy walking. Chances are you'll get up close and personal with a Kereru or two (our native Wood Pigeon).

Google-friendly directions: 200 Waipoapoa Rd, Maraetotara. If cell phone reception becomes intermittent, the DOC sign is very easily spotted on Waipoapoa Rd. 45 mins from Havelock and John’s House & The Pavilion. To enjoy the limestone outcrops, take the coastal rd via Waimarama & Ocean Beach.

Maraetotara Falls - At the site of the old Havelock North Power Station you’ll find a very accessible waterfalls. The setting is stunning and the plunge pool is large, so bring a picnic and enjoy. Also note that Maraetotara is on the way to Mohi Bush (via Waimarama & Ocean Beach), with only a brief detour needed.

Google-friendly directions: Go to 394 Maraetotara Rd, Maraetotara 4294. 20 minutes from Havelock North.

Fishing - A not very well kept local secret, the trout fishing behind Te Mata Peak in the Tuki Tuki River is some of the best and most accessible in the Bay. You don’t need to travel huge distances upriver - the fishing around Black Bridge is fantastic, super accessible, and only a few minutes' drive from Havelock North.

Duart Historic House & Gardens - At Duart there are well kept gardens, with outstanding photograph opportunities in spring and summer time. Duart House itself is an historic home kept in a charitable trust, and a superb spot for weddings or functions.  Access the interior of the house by appointment only.

Cool Places to Eat
Wow, the village has an abundance of great cafes, bars and restaurants. Here's a short shout out to some recent additions.

Maina - An extremely popular restaurant in the heart of Havelock that keeps extending its hours to keep up with it's customers. The restaurant has an architectural interior, and outdoor tables on the deck. Have dinner at Maina from Thursday to Saturday, and watch this space for future developments.

Wright & Co. - A brand new offering in September of 2015, this cafe is a great choice for breakfast or lunch. The cafe's menu is in part influenced by the paleo diet, and they have an excellent grill selection. Do take a look at this new spot at the top of Joll Rd.

Alessandro’s - We now have a small slice of Italy in the Village, and they’re unabashed experts at woodfired pizza. Fully licensed and only fifty metres down Havelock Rd from the central roundabout, this is a must visit.

For the Kids & Teens

Arataki Honey - Arataki are experts at sparking curiosity in kids. In their visitor centre you’ll encounter a tasting station, microscopes to look at honeycomb, glass panelled hives, and other interactive experiences to educate. Access is free and the store is packed with natural New Zealand products to keep you happy while the kids gape and enjoy.

Cycle Trail Adventures - Point your teens and tweens in the direction of Riverlands, and from there they can go whichever way on riverside trails. These cycle trails are their gateways to Huckleberry Finn style adventures of fishing and exploration this summer.

Romane's Drive BMX Park - This track puts Hawke's Bay on the map for competitive BMX racing. A sophisticated hard-packed track with an array of jumps, comprising a superb new facility.

Keirunga Park Railway - A magical experience for the young kids. There is electric and diesel engines that take you on a 846 metre railway running through tunnels, over viaducts and around scenic rock faces. The Keirunga Park Railway is rated in the top 5 miniature railways in the world.

The trains run on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month, from 11am - 4pm. Rides are $2 per person, cash only. Oh, and on Labour Weekend they run the steam train!

Cool Destinations Further Afield
Shine Falls - At 58 metres this is a world class waterall. At the falls there is a picnic table and ample plunge pool so stay and enjoy this incredible spot.
To get to the beginning of the walking trail, Google Heay's Access Road, Putorino 4181. It’s a 1 hour 20 min drive from Havelock North or John’s House and the Pavilion. From the DOC carpark, the walk is 1 hr 30 mins return.

Lake Tutira - Lake Tutira has so much to offer. In the spring the easily accessible trails are in blossom, which draws huge numbers of Tui down for feeding. Lake Tutira is a small effort to drive to, but rewards you with its diversity and beauty (and maybe a kiwi).

Maori Tours at Waimarama - Only half an hour from Havelock North, Waimarama Maori Tours are giving authentic experiences and pulling in some great reviews on TripAdisor. A must do if you are interested in New Zealand’s indigenous culture.

Cool Architecture - And a Bit of a Personal Plug
John Scott was one of New Zealand’s stand out architects of the 20th century. His buildings are sophisticated avant-garde forms that remain well balanced and impressive today. John lived in Hawke's Bay for most of his life, and designed over 350 buildings.

John’s House - Designed in 1989 for John & Pauline Pattison, this very unique house is now short term boutique hotel accommodation. The Pavilion was designed by Pete Bossley in 2013 as dedicated visitor accommodation.  Pete has done a superb job in complementing and referencing John's House in his design.

The two beautiful houses shape our large established grounds. We are child and pet friendly, and only ten minutes walk from the centre of Havelock North. Many of our guests are repeats and if you want affirmation, we are pretty stoked with our 40 odd Tripadvisor reviews.

Our Lady Of Lourdes Church - Another John Scott design in Havelock North. The building has innovative use of light and exposed beams, like many of Scott's buildings. Our Lady of Lourdes is currently (October 2015) without a resident priest, so is open intermittently throughout the day. A reliable time to visit is between 8:30 - 9:30 am, Tuesday through Saturday.

St Luke’s Anglican Church - Whether or not you are religious, the internal architecture and ornamental woodwork in St Luke's is absolutely spectacular, and shouldn't be missed. St Luke’s is open to the public for prayer during the day, so call in and enjoy the detailed craftsmanship visible inside.

Thanks for reading our post and learning more about our fantastic region. If you are passionate about any of these spots, please comment below. And if you think we missed anything great out, comment and tell us what it was and why it's so great!
This post was published by Johno Ormond of Dalia Media. Click the link to get in touch with him.
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