My birthday was coming up so I decided to plan something fun to celebrate.

We have a tradition where we go for a weekend away for our birthdays, and we’ve been lucky enough to explore some beautiful parts of this country by doing this.
So T and I started brainstorming ideas of where to go. Unable to decide, I asked where he thought would be my ultimate holiday spot. He suggested somewhere with wineries.
That guy knows me too well.

So the obvious choice was to head to Napier, which is a wine lovers dream. There are some amazing wineries scattered throughout the Hawkes Bay region to explore. Perfect.

We set off on the Friday evening and stopped for the night in Taupo. We stayed at the Lakeland Resort which was a nice, cosy hotel with fantastic service.  Booking a room with a spa bath ended up being a brilliant idea as it was a chilly night. The next day we got up and ventured out for a walk around Taupo on a beautiful crisp morning, taking in the fresh air from the snowy mountains.

Lake Taupo, looking towards Tongariro National Park

We stumbled across Cafe ninety nine which had a modern cafe vibe with a good quality menu, so we chose here for breakfast – we weren’t disappointed. I ordered an Americano with a side of cashew milk (they make this onsite and it was so good) and the Eggs Benedict with salmon, while T ordered a Flat White and the “Big Breakfast”. The food and coffee were outstanding! Will definitely go back.

Next stop: Napier.

The sun really turned it on for us, as Napier so kindly does. We went for a wander around town, looking at some shops and markets, then decided it was time for some wine. You really are spoiled for choice in the Hawkes Bay, so choosing which winery to go to was not an easy task.

We decided to go for 3; one that had nice views, one that was simple and quaint and one that had reputable wines. For the views we went to Elephant Hill, as the winery overlooks the ocean (which is right across the road). Winery +  sea views = perfection.

Elephant Hill Winery

This was a very popular winery too. You can see why! We grabbed a glass of our fave choice then sat in the sun to enjoy the views. We absolutely loved it here and will return for sure.


Next winery was Mission Estate which we knew had lovely wines, particularly their Chardonnay which has been a longstanding favourite of mine. In fact, all the wines that I sampled were just beautiful, and at the end we were given a Mission Estate wine glass to keep. A nice touch.

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Unfortunately we ran out of time for a 3rd winery but we were definitely happy with the places we went to.

It was time to get some dinner, so we ventured to the Port area and came across The Boardwalk. What a good choice! We got the Pulled Pork salad and the Paua Wontons for the entree and T got the “surf and turf” for the main, while I got the seafood lasagne. It was super hard to narrow down what to choose and everything that we did order was sooooo good.
The service was also top notch, so much so that I emailed to thank them after. We will definitely go back (just for that amazing lasagne alone!).

Seafood lasagne and salad – words cannot describe how good this was

We made our way back to the VR Hotel to unwind. This was a lovely hotel; it’s centrally located, the decor was modern with a bit of character and the service was fantastic. I can’t speak highly enough of it. I would definitely recommend to stay here when visiting Napier.

We woke up to another beautiful day, so we grabbed a coffee from Six Sisters Coffee House then went for a lovely stroll along Marine Parade. This is one of my favourite places in New Zealand to go for a nice scenic stroll, the sea views and the mountain views are just stunning.

Views of the Ocean
Sunken Gardens

We soaked up the last few hours, then packed up and sadly said good-bye to Napier, with promises that we would be back very soon.


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