Venture into the magnificent countryside surrounding Napier for a unique perspective of New Zealand rural life, made possible by visiting a boutique winery and a private home.
Head inland into the fertile Puketapu region just west of Napier. Your guide will be local resident Hamish Prins, who has spent his entire life in the area. While en-route, he will entertain you with stories about the continued development of Puketapu, especially the most recent evolution from sheep farming to organic orchards.
Boutique wineries have also sprung up, and you'll stop by one of the area's most esteemed for a sampling of its distinct vintages. Pinot Noir, Syrah and Vin Gris are now commonly produced in the Puketapu region, and that success has drawn other wineries to the valley. Some of the oldest Sauvignon Blanc vines on New Zealand's North Island are also found in this region.
In time, you'll stop at Hamish Prins' private residence, Horsford Downs, where he lives with his wife, Diane. Both of them are happy to answer your questions about everything from life in rural New Zealand to how they have adapted to the changing economy. Enjoy some light refreshments in the park-like setting and then perhaps take some time to wander about the gardens and orchards that surround the home.
Your return route to the pier travels via Taradale, a wine-growing community that boasts spectacular views of the fertile Heretaunga Plains and the dramatic Hawke's Bay coastline.