A new property just out of Hastings offers stylish and modern accommodation in a gorgeous setting, writes Joelle Thompson.
A baby rabbit ambles silently along the edge of the swimming pool at Haumoana House, slowing to bask briefly in the winter sun before disappearing into thick bush. Like the rabbit, who seems strangely relaxed in this domestic setting, Haumoana House looks as though it belongs on the arid Hawkes Bay hilltop where it sits.
The secluded, sparsely populated coastal settlement of Haumoana is just south of the Tukituki River outlet in the Bay. Its nearest neighbour is Te Awanga. Hastings is 10km to the east and Napier is a 20-minute coastal drive to the north.
This is a place to come with your provisions already in-hand. That way, it's easy to nestle into the laid-back luxury of seclusion and stillness the location provides.
Tucked into the gentle folds of these rolling Hawkes Bay hills is the newest place to stay in the area, Haumoana House, which opened late last year. It was built in 2004 by Greg Collinge; a local working in London when he bought this 19.4ha block in 2002. He commissioned Wellington architect Nick Bevin of Bevin and Slessor architects to design the house and two nearby cottages.
The land is also home to &Co vineyard, owned by Collinge and his winemaker partner Gabrielle Simmers. Simmers also co-owns Esther Diamond furnishings which both the house and cottages are decadently kitted out with.
Local artist Martin Poppelwell curated the paintings, sculptures and furniture at Haumoana House, using an all-New Zealand line-up: Anton Parsons, Chris Bryant, Jeff Thomson, Para Matchitt, Wanganui ceramicist Ross Mitchell-Anyon, Paul Dibble, Elizabeth Thomson, Dick Frizzell and Poppelwell's own work.
Millar Road Cottages and Haumoana House can cater for up to 16 adults, with shared use of the swimming pool and pool bar.
What to do:
* Play golf at Cape Kidnappers.
* Drive or walk to Te Mata Peak for panoramic views of Hawkes Bay.
* Head to Ocean Beach or Waimarama for white sand, picnics, swims and surfing.
* Support local growers at the Hawkes Bay Farmers Market on winter Sundays from 8.30am-12.30pm, in Hastings. In summer, visit the Black Barn Market on Saturdays, 9am-noon.
Getting there: Napier is approximately a six-hour drive from Auckland on State Highway 1 to Taupo, then State Highway 5 to Napier. Air New Zealand flies several times a day between Napier and Auckland, starting from $99.
On the way: Relax in a hot pool in the lush native bush setting of the historic Taupo Hot Springs below De Bretts Hotel. The mineral pools range from steaming hot to tepid. There is a hydroslide, massage and spa facilities and private spas. Post-spa lunch can be taken on the deck of the original Terraces Hotel next door - now part of the Hilton Lake Taupo.
Where to stay: Millar Road Cottages and Haumoana House, Millar Rd, Haumoana, ph (06) 875 1977 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Prices start at $400 per night, depending on the season and which house is being rented. Long-term tariffs are available.By Joelle Thomson