Oruawharo Homestead, Tākapau, Central Hawke's Bay © Tourism Hawke's Bay

Loved by the locals: Central Hawke's Bay

View the map


South of Napier and Hastings you'll find the Central Hawke's Bay District, home to bucolic landscapes, historic homesteads, long stretches of coastline, weekend markets, museums and great mountain-biking.

1. Oruawharo

Visit Oruawharo in Tākapau for high tea and a tour of the sprawling 150-year-old homestead. Hosts Peter and Dianne Harris have been painstakingly restoring the historic home for 20 years, having saved it from demolition in 2000 after 30 years’ neglect. Today, the homestead and on-site chapel are popular for weddings and events. Visitors are also welcome to explore the outbuildings and gardens. Make sure you ask Peter to show you the before and after photos of the restoration on his iPad to grasp the sheer scale of their project.

Have you tried High Tea at Oruawharo Homestead in Takapau - divine! #playcentralhawkesbay #centralhawkesbay

A post shared by Central Hawke's Bay (@centralhawkesbaynz) on Feb 23, 2017 at 1:40pm PST

2. Pōrangahau Beach

Pōrangahau, or Te Paerahi Beach is a wild and beautiful stretch of coastline. Visit for an invigorating beach walk rather than a sunbathing session.

You may see hardy locals going for a dip, but with wild winds making wilder waves, swimming is best left to the brave.

There’s something about fresh, salty air that always seems to work up an appetite, so make sure you stop in at Flotsam and Jetsam in Pōrangahau village for coffee and homemade treats, or across the road the Duke of Edinburgh pub for a pint and some post-beach fish and chips on your way home.

Pōrangahau’s other claim to fame is that it’s home to the hill with the longest place name in the world: Taumatawhakatangihangakōauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupōkaiwhenuakitānatahu.

3. Rānui Farm Park

Rānui Farm Park, about 20 minutes south of Waipukurau, is a mountain bike enthusiast’s dream, with over 30km of trails ranging from beginner to advanced level. The park is located on a working farm, so the tracks are open on weekends only. On the first Sunday of each month, check out the ‘Sunday Fun Day,’ where you can not only ride the mountain bike trails, but have a go at archery, paintball, the 70 metre water slide or the giant flying fox.

4. CHB Settlers Museum

In the historic Bank of New Zealand building on Waipawa’s main street, you’ll find the Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum. Displays showcase the fascinating local history of the area, which, in 2017, is celebrating 150 years since it was first settled, making Waipukurau and Waipawa some of the oldest inland towns in New Zealand.

Well looked after old building in Waipawa #symmetry #old #architecture #photooftheday

A post shared by Justin (@jcmnz) on Apr 25, 2016 at 3:25am PDT

5. Ōtāne Markets

Sundays are market days in Ōtāne. From 9am – 1pm pop in to visit the bustling local market where you can stock up on fresh produce, plants, arts and crafts and delicious eats.

Make sure you leave room for a coffee from McCauley's cafe in the beautiful art deco building that used to house the public library.

Explore more...

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

Things to do while you're here

Find out more

Food and drink

Hawke's Bay: the finest of wines

There are over 70 vineyards in the Hawke's Bay – about half of which you can visit. Taste the fruits of the vines and their vintners’ zeal and, in many cases, have a bite to eat at the same time. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Hawke’s Bay: in search of the good life

Hawke’s Bay isn’t on the way to anywhere. It requires a deliberate choice to discover its delights.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Get outdoors

Te Mata Peak: Hawke's Bay icon

From Te Mata Peak, on a clear day, you can see the whole of Hawke’s Bay laid out before you – up to Māhia Peninsula in the north and the rugged hills behind the coast to the south. Read the story . . . 

AA Members save on selected accommodation with
AA Traveller

AA Members
Book now
Non Members
Book now