I tagged our midwinter holiday as a road trip, but it really wasn't. We seriously cheated! After a few hours in Auckland we caught a plane to Napier and spent half a week there, with my sister and her family. Definitely a luxury, but so worth it.
If we ever repeat this particular trip, I'd do Wellington first and finish in Hawkes Bay. Aside from being one of my very favourite places in New Zealand, there's the perfect mixture of cosy comfort and adventure, countryside and city conveniences. Half of our time was spent curled up next to the fire with cups of tea in our hands, the rest was low-key adventures in some pretty cool places. Notably, Birdwoods (my first visit), Hawkes Bay Farmyard Zoo (also a first, and an opportunity to meet up with some favourite bloggers/'grammers), and Ocean Spa (my 500 millionth vist - obsessed). We also fitted in breakfast at F.G. Smiths and caught up with friends we rarely see. Perfect, perfect.
Birdwoods was a little bit of magic on a cool morning. The kids couldn't quite contain themselves when we entered the lolly store. It was like visiting the North Pole. I felt kinda the same, spotting so many childhood favourites (must've been a pretty deprived childhood because it was the Aniseed Wheels that evoked the strongest memories - I wasn't tempted to buy any).
The Gallery/Cafe next door serves French Press coffee (I'll take perked coffee over espresso any day of the week), Devonshire Tea and epic fluffies. The grounds are big and beautiful, so we let the kids run off some of the sugar there, before packing them back into the car.
If you do visit, it's so worth taking your time to drive around this area. It's beautiful, Hawkes Bay really has the best selection of hues, especially in the Autumn/Winter months.
I'd love to share more of our Hawkes Bay favourites. I always mean too, but usually get too caught up in the moment to take pictures. That's a good thing though, right?