Katrina Johns gets a taste of what Hawke's Bay has to offer during a cycle tour of the area.
1. MISSION ESTATE WINERY
Although it's up a driveway and your legs may not want to do it — the majestic old villa at the top of the hill is worth the extra pedal power. Not only do they have a cellar door where you can do tastings for $5, but they also have a stunning restaurant. Lunch or dinner overlooking the vines is a must, and don't forget to pick up a bottle or two to enjoy once you get back home.
2. HAWKES BAY GOLF CLUB — BUNKERS CAFE
Cyclists are made to feel very welcome at Bunkers Cafe. This place is cheap and cheerful and the meal sizes there are large and delicious. As we were arriving, another group of cyclists were just leaving and were saying how good the food was — we weren't disappointed. The only downside was that they couldn't serve alcohol to non-members but they are working on getting a licence to allow this.
3. NGATAWARA WINERY
Another long driveway gets you down to the old stables of the Ngatarawa winery — but at least this driveway is flat. We were instantly made to feel welcome and stopped for one of the finest tastings of our trip. The staff there were clearly passionate about their wine and incredibly knowledgeable. They also gave us a short history talk on the vineyards, which was really interesting. This is also the winery where we learnt we love rieslings — and their cellar door one is a must-try-and-buy.
4. PIPI CAFE
Located in the heart of Havelock North is this little pink gem. Good hearty home cooking and friendly service all served up with a side of eccentric decor and 70s music, make this place a must visit. There's no fancy presentation, and you've got to help yourselves to beer from the fridge but all of this adds to the homely feel you get the minute you walk in the door. The food is divine, and the portions generous. Loved it!
5. BLACK BARN
Not only do they offer a cellar door for tastings, and a bistro, but they also have a pantry selling local goods, accommodation retreats all over the Hawke's Bay, a local growers' market held every Saturday in summer, and an amphitheatre where they hold outdoor concerts. A place you can easily spend a good few hours relaxing in the sun and enjoying the views.