Author Archives: Rob Burnell
Check-in on our New Zealand travel blog for latest news, events and updates - along with a splash of personality from the whole team at Bella Vista!
Posted by Rob Burnell on
Sandwiched between a craggy mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, Kaikoura is a foodie paradise enjoying a bountiful harvest from both land and sea. With so many great places to eat in Kaikoura just a short walk from the motel, you’ll discover why this town is not only the crayfish capital of New Zealand, but a mecca of great eating – all served up with a dollop of South Island charm.
Cods and Crayfish
Grab the catch of the day at this family-run seafood spot. Rated by visitors as one of the best take out places to eat in Kaikoura, your fish will probably be cooked by the people who caught it. Want a whole crayfish and a scoop of crisp and fluffy hot chips? Or maybe a fillet of battered juicy blue cod with a side of crunchy squid rings? No problem. While you wait, the kids will be entertained by the fish tank housing live crayfish and crabs making this one of the best food-centric attractions in Kaikoura. Grab some delicious flaky smoked fish to go, as this place boasts its own smokehouse.
Black Rabbit Pizza
If you’ve overindulged in the local kaimoana (seafood), put this pizzeria on your list of ‘Kaikoura things to do’. Locals rave about the Black Rabbit’s ‘Shrek and Dolly’ pizza –imagine roast lamb, caramelized onion, pumpkin, mozzarella cheese, & mint sauce drizzle served on a delicious crispy base, served piping hot from the pizza oven. These guys are gourmet geniuses, with 13 pizza creations on offer, whizzing up tasty vegetarian combos too - like homemade tomato pizza sauce, pesto and jalapeños. But wait there’s more! Their caramel cookie dough cheesecake dessert pizza might just pop those top buttons. So maybe take a breather or get it boxed to go!
Billed as a stylish, modern ‘downtown’ eatery, Zephyr is regarded by visitors as one of the best restaurants in Kaikoura with a bistro-styled menu unapologetically focussed on local game – think venison, duck and ribeye beef – and a great little wine list to boot. No doubt booked by locals for a special night out, this hidden gem will appeal to couples or a bunch of friends who might opt to share the slow roasted Lamb Shoulder - for two – served with rosemary jus, duck fat roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Go on, make a booking, you deserve it.
The new-ish kid on the block is fast becoming one of the best daytime places to eat in Kaikoura. Sime’s Kitchen offers hearty fare with its origins harking back to a famous 40-year plus Dunedin bakery, run by owner Sam’s family. Yes, classic Eggs Bene is on the menu but how about tucking into French toast with fresh figs and pistachio cream while sipping on a piping hot brew of People’s Coffee (try saying that fast!). Need lunch on the run? The cabinet is stocked with sweet and savoury treats based on Sam’s grandfather’s recipes, often made with the famous Hislop’s organic wholemeal flour and honey and other locally sourced ingredients. Truly, one of the more delicious things to do in Kaikoura which may hurt the waistline (but not your wallet).
Ask our guest services team at the Bella Vista Motel for recommendations, because as locals, we not only know the best restaurants in Kaikoura but also the top attractions in the surrounding area.
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We often get asked about free things to do in Kaikoura, so love to recommend the local walking tracks for views of the coastline, native forest and wildlife unique to the area. Here’s our pick of the top tracks and trails, either a short distance from the motel or further afield – easily done as a day trip.
Tick off the Kaikoura Lookout (1 hour each way)
Build up an appetite for the local seafood by undertaking one of the steeper walks in Kaikoura up to the town’s lookout. This is an easily accessible viewpoint which reveals panoramic views of the peninsula, especially at sunset. Ask us for directions or from the Esplanade, head up Tom's Track to the Lookout and return down Dempsey’s Track for a well-deserved refreshment on the water’s edge.
Wander up the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway (2-3 hours)
Regarded as one of the best walks in Kaikoura because it combines stunning views, a great workout and sometimes a distant encounter with seals at low tide. Starting from the Point Kean seal colony main car park, the track climbs past informative panels dotted along the route so you’ll learn about the history and ecology of the area.
Attack the Mt Fyffe Summit Track (8 hours)
If you fancy one of the more challenging day walks in Kaikoura (just a short drive from town), then this day hike might appeal. It’s a steep trek to the summit of Mt Fyffe but the stunning panoramic views of the Kaikoura Ranges and its snow-capped mountains are breath taking. On a clear day, you might just spot the Banks Peninsula and the North Island. The hike begins at the Mount Fyffe carpark and with a good level of fitness, should take between six to eight hours to complete. For a shorter hike, head up to the Mt Fyffe Hut (5 hours return) or the lookout point, just an hour above the carpark.
Hit the Hinau Track (45-minute loop)
Named after the Hinau tree which grow alongside the trail, this gentle walk is one of the family-friendly things to do in Kaikoura. The 45-minute loop track also starts at the base of Mt Fyffe carpark, an easy 10-minute drive from the motel. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sounds of regenerating birdlife as you wander through native forest on this well-formed track. There is an unbridged stream which in normal conditions, is easy to step across without getting your shoes wet.
Guests often ask us at the Bella Vista Motel about the best walks in Kaikoura. So we’ll happily suggest options to suit your level of fitness or timeframe and point you in the right direction.
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While our stunning coastline and whale watching excursions are major Kaikoura attractions, there are so many things to do in Kaikoura, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Incredible scenic walks, some of the best seafood in New Zealand and dolphin encounters are also hallmarks of our charming seaside village, largely rebuilt following the 2016 Earthquake. Here’s our round up of the best things to do in Kaikoura.
Indulge your love of marine life.
Who doesn’t love friendly dolphins? One of the most popular Kaikoura attractions are the dolphin encounters, with the tour check in located just ten minutes from the motel. Where else in New Zealand can you get up, close and personal with some of the world’s most beautiful sea life? Visitors who book a tour marvel at the pods of dolphin which glide alongside, and you have the option on calmer summer days of swimming with the dusky dolphins right off the boat in a small group. A lifetime memory which most agree, is one of the best things to do in Kaikoura. Booking in advance is highly recommended especially in the busy summer season.
Discover Whale Watching Wow!
Add a whale watching boat tour to the top of your Kaikoura things-to-do list. Around 80% of the world’s whale and dolphin species migrate past the town’s coastline providing a huge 95% chance of spotting a giant sperm whale on your tour. Whale Watch Kaikoura provide modern catamaran boats with large outside viewing decks and quiet engines to minimise underwater noise. Whale watching is a popular thing to do in Kaikoura, so once again book ahead!
Savour fresh seafood
Kaikoura means ‘meal of crayfish’ so where better to experience what many believe is the food of royalty than the popular Kaikoura Seafood BBQ stall right by the beach? One of many alfresco places to eat in Kaikoura, choose your crayfish then watch the team grill it to order on the BBQ. With a side serving of rice, garden salad, garlic bread and an outdoor view of the ocean, it’ll be hard to beat. Or if crayfish isn’t your thing, sample another local delicacy, the mouth-watering whitebait fritters for just $8 a pop or freshly battered blue cod fish and chips.
Visit The Point Kean Seal Colony
One of the best free things to do in Kaikoura is to meet the locals! Which includes the local seals too. You might just encounter a large fur seal lolling on the boardwalk at the entrance to the Point Kean Seal Colony. The ideal time for viewing is at low tide when the seals emerge from the sea, sunbathe and roll around near the car park but please keep your distance and respect the wildlife in this Department of Conservation managed area.
Enjoy the Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway
Feel like a hike? Starting from the Point Kean seal colony main car park, this is one of the best walks in Kaikoura. Take binoculars as you’ll be on the lookout for whales and dolphins from the superb coastal vantage points. With informative panels dotted along the route, you’ll learn about the history and ecology of the area. The walkway only takes two to three hours to complete so it’s a comfortable half-day hike.
Spot an Albatross
High on the list of Kaikoura attractions is the areas’ varied birdlife. Nature lovers will relish the diverse seabirds including 12 species of the majestic Albatross, shearwaters, petrel, and several penguins, gulls and protected terns. This is best experienced on an albatross encounter boat cruise with a knowledgeable local guide.
With so many things to do in Kaikoura, ask our guest services team at the Bella Vista Motel for help in deciding, especially when the weather and sea conditions can affect your options. We’re only too happy to help and can guarantee you’ll have a ‘whale of a time’ in beautiful Kaikoura.
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While the ice flows slow on the West Coast, grinding its way from the heart of the Southern Alps down to the Tasman Sea, there’s adrenalin aplenty in Glacier Country. Here we’ve rounded up some of the more adventurous things to do in Fox Glacier from heart-racing sky dives and helicopter snow landings to icy hikes over deep crevasses. Bring your sense of adventure, pack your woollies, and come prepared for fun and thrills on the ice.
Hop on a Fox Glacier helicopter flight
Whether it’s a short scenic flight over Fox Glacier or heli-conquering New Zealand’s highest peak, Aoraki-Mount Cook, don’t forgo an opportunity for a James Bond like snow-landing! One of the best Fox Glacier flights is with Glacier Helicopters, the pioneers of snow landings, and spotting glacier icefalls or crevasses from above. You’re guaranteed a fist-pumping experience as the helicopter takes off from sea-level at Fox Glacier village. With spectacular views from the ocean to the Southern Alps, to throwing snowballs on a glacier, getting sky high is one of the best things to do in Fox Glacier.
Do New Zealand’s highest skydive
For the ultimate adrenaline rush, book a Skydive Franz experience. These high-flying experts offer the highest skydive in New Zealand, the Kea Jump from 20,000ft (an 85-second freefall), making this one of the most unique things to do in Franz Josef and the entire country.
Adventure hike across Fox Glacier
Challenge yourself to an exhilarating day-long hike on the West Coast’s largest glacier.
Leave civilisation behind and hop in a helicopter to experience the Fox Glacier most visitors miss. The Fox Glacier Guiding Heli Hike (or Extreme Fox Hike) starts with a breath-taking helicopter flight over lush rainforest with views towards Aoraki/Mt. Cook and Mt. Tasman, before landing on the upper ice fall of Fox Glacier. Using crampons and safety ropes, your highly experienced Fox Glacier guide will help you ford crevasses, climb short ice pitches, or abseil down ice walls. There’s nothing like seeing blue Ice for the first time, it’s purity and beauty is really something else! After seven hours on the ice and an awesome heli-transfer back to Fox Glacier village, head to local favourite Betsey Janes for a well-deserved dinner and drink (or two).
It can get very cold on Fox Glacier with changeable weather conditions, so bring wool or polypro layers and a warm jacket. Pack lightly for heli-hiking as the pilot is strict on passenger loads so just take the essentials – a camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, water and a light snack will do just the trick!
While the guided glacier experiences are awesome, a tour booking is dependent on local conditions so plan a 2-3 night stay in case the weather doesn’t play ball. Ask the Bella Vista Motel team for advice on thrill-seeker activities or the best walks in Fox Glacier, we’re only too happy to help.
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Heading to the world-famous Glacier Country on the West Coast? With international visitors in short supply, there’s never been a better time to explore this remote paradise than right now. It’s not only home to the majestic Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, but also natural hot springs, alpine walks, stunning views of New Zealand’s highest peaks, hearty food, even a resident seal colony! While the guided glacier experiences are awesome, a tour booking is dependent on conditions so plan a 2-3 night stay to outsmart the West Coast weather. With so many great things to do in Fox Glacier, here’s our two-day guide to the region’s best attractions.
Explore the Fox Glacier Valley Walk on foot
Start your visit by hiking one of the best short walks in Fox Glacier. This popular scenic track meanders along the south bank of the Fox River through ancient rainforest before ascending gently up the valley to the Fox Glacier Viewpoint. On a sunny day you’ll enjoy wide views up the valley towards the icy glacier. Add this two-hour hike to your ‘what to do Fox Glacier’ list because best of all, it’s free!
Take to the skies with Fox Glacier Guides
Go next-level adventure by taking a helicopter hike up to the West Coast's largest and least crowded glacier. After a jaw-dropping chopper ride to a pristine landing spot on Fox Glacier, top-rated local guides will reveal spectacular ice caves, arches, tunnels, and the melt-river from the hidden Victoria glacier. You might even be greeted on arrival by a flock of native keas. Each 3-hour excursion is a wondrous exploration of this slowly retreating natural wonder, impacted by our warming planet. A Fox Glacier Guiding Heli Hike over ice-in-motion will be a once in lifetime experience.
Wine and dine at Betsey Jane
While a relative newcomer, Betsey Jane has already garnered a five-star reputation as the best restaurant in Fox Glacier. In fact, delighted visitors reckon this spot could hold its own in the big smokes of Christchurch or Wellington with its fantastic food, friendly staff, and modern stylish setting. If the likes of seared blue cod, creamy salmon risotto or a lamb and beetroot salad appeal, then head here for dinner and an impressive wine list too.
Wander around Lake Matheson (1h 30 min return)
After breakfast, take a 5-minute drive from the motel to this instagram-famous spot. Probably the most photographed lake in New Zealand, Lake Matheson, named after a pioneering cattle farmer, is renowned for its perfect chocolate-box reflections of New Zealand's highest mountains – Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Visitors the world-over are entranced by the Lake’s serene mirror views of the Southern Alps, a natural result of organic particles leached from the surrounding forest floor. If your heli-hike’s postponed, a visit to Lake Matheson is what to do in Fox Glacier when the weather doesn’t play ball.
Head out to Gillespies Beach and the Seal Colony
A short drive west of Lake Matheson is Gillespies Beach, an original gold mining settlement. Today it offers five walks Fox Glacier locals love to do, ranging from five minutes to a three hour return track to view the seal colony at Galway Beach. While seals are the star-attraction here during winter, this rugged and remote beach also provides stunning views of the wild Tasman Sea, beautiful summer sunsets and misshapen driftwood for avid fossickers. The only thing to avoid here are the pesky sandflies so pack the insect repellent and come prepared to swot and slap.
Refuel at Mathesons Café
Rated one of the top restaurants in Fox Glacier and the ‘best lunch spot for miles’, Matheson’s is a stylish all-day café serving up great food, coffee and unsurpassed views of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Sit outside in the sunshine and tuck into their mushroom pesto eggs Benedict, ‘big brekkie’ or the local venison bacon burger, with chutney and fries. The cabinet food is all freshly baked on site and includes deli-style sandwiches, cakes, savouries, and salads. This is a great way to break up a long road trip and recharge before walking around beautiful Lake Matheson. A warning however, after strolling around the lake, you’ll probably be tempted to return for more mouth-watering morsels!
Posted by Rob Burnell on
While the West Coast is renowned for its awe-inspiring Fox Glacier, the area is also home to some of New Zealand’s best short walks. Alpine views, stunning lake vistas, seal-spotting, birdlife, rugged beaches and native forest trails are just some of the many wonderful things to do in Fox Glacier. Here’s our guide to four of the best short hikes Fox Glacier has, to showcase its natural wonders.
The Fox Glacier Valley Walk (2 hours return)
Where else in the world but New Zealand, can you discover a breath-taking glacier less than an hour’s walk from your car? And what’s more, this awesome Fox Glacier attraction is free!
A popular scenic track, The Fox Glacier Valley Walk starts just a short 2-kilometre drive south of the Bella Vista motel. The path meanders along the south bank of the Fox River through ancient podocarp rainforest before ascending gently up the valley. After 40-minutes, you’ll reach the Fox Glacier Viewpoint and if the clouds part, be rewarded with wide views up the valley towards the glacier and a picture-perfect spot.
Also check out the Moraine Walk which loops off the Fox Glacier Valley Walk track, so you can tick off two walks in one day! This easy 40-minute walk reveals how plants regenerate after a glacier has retreated and it’s not hard to imagine how dinosaurs would’ve once roamed this now-forested valley.
The Minnehaha Track (20 min loop)
Who doesn’t love glow worms especially when their natural habitat is 200 meters from the motel’s doorstep? A short stroll on The Minnehaha Track (20m minute loop) is one of the most family-friendly things to do in Fox Glacier. This peaceful loop path follows a burbling stream through rainforest. The kids will love heading out after dark but remember to tread quietly and switch off torches to behold the full glow worm glory show. No torch? Ask to borrow one from reception or take a couple of well-charged phones to light up the path.
Lake Matheson (1h 30 min return)
Probably the most photographed lake in New Zealand, nearby Lake Matheson is renowned for its perfect chocolate-box reflections of New Zealand's highest mountains – Aoraki Mt Cook and Mt Tasman. Visitors the world-over are entranced by the Lake’s serene mirror views of the Southern Alps which are caused by organic matter leached from the surrounding forest floor. And what’s more, Fox Glacier’s most instagrammable spot is only 5-minutes’ drive from the motel!
If you’re feeling peckish, drop into the stylish Matheson’s Café at the track entrance. Visitors rate their big brekkie, and the coffee is considered amongst the best brews on the West Coast. Especially when sipped on the café’s sunny patio with the Southern Alps as your outlook.
Ask the Bella Vista Motel team about the best walks in Fox Glacier. We’ll happily suggest options to suit your level of fitness or timeframe and point you in the right direction.
Posted by Rob Burnell on
When you visit a new city, it’s only natural to want to make the most of your time by seeing and doing as much as possible. To save you hours of searching the internet and scrolling through endless reviews, we’ve pulled together some of the most popular things to do in Gisborne in this handy list. It includes the main Gisborne tourist attractions so that you can rest assured that you’ll be experiencing all the very best highlights of our beautiful seaside city.
Gisborne Railbike Adventure
People land in Gisborne from all over New Zealand to experience the Railbike Adventure. Grab a friend, jump aboard a side-by-side tandem bike and cruise along the old rail tracks to see the countryside in a whole new way. Tours range from a quick one hour ride across the Waipaoa Bridge to a three and a half hour trip through the tiny coastal communities on the Mahia Peninsula. You can choose a standard bike which requires a reasonable amount of pedal power or opt for an e-bike to give you some welcome assistance. This is one of the top Gisborne attractions when it comes to outdoor activities, so make sure you put this one on your list!
Tatapouri Reef Stingrays
Keen on seeing a stingray up close and in the wild? Just 15 minutes out of Gisborne City is Tatapouri, where expert guides are on hand to help you interact safely with Wild Short Tail Stingrays, Eagle Rays and other reef creatures in their natural habitat. The reef ecology tour will take you over the reef in waders at low tide to stand among the incredible marine life as guides tell you all about the species you encounter. Bookings are essential and tour times are dependent on tides. This stingray experience is one of the most highly recommended Gisborne tourist attractions so make sure you make book early to avoid disappointment!
Sunrise tour at Maunga Hikurangi
If experiencing a Gisborne sunrise is on your radar, there’s no better place to do it than atop Hikurangi. You’ll jump in a four-wheel drive before dawn to climb to the top of the mountain and visit a sacred site of M?ori significance. See the sunrise over nine legendary M?ori carvings sitting high atop the hill and learn all about the incredible history of the carvings and the surrounding area. The tours are taken by Ngati Porou guides and include participation in a karakia—a traditional M?ori blessing. A light breakfast is included and you’ll receive a gift from the Ngati Porou tribe to remember your experience by. This is truly one of the most memorable and unique things to do in Gisborne.
Visit the award-winning wineries
Gisborne produces some of the country’s best chardonnay and pinot noir, and our wineries are one of our top Gisborne attractions… So a visit wouldn’t be complete without taking yourself on a little winery tour! Bushmere Estate offers beautiful outdoor space and mouth-watering degustation menus, Poverty Bay Wines has an award-winning cellar door and Matawhero Wines has a long, interesting history and a Gewürztramineryou simply must try! Most of the wineries are within a 15-minute drive from our Gisborne motel, or you can cycle your way around the wineries if you want to break up your visits with a bit of fresh air.
We couldn’t leave a beach trip off our list! Waikanae Beach is one of Gisborne’s best tourist attractions and popular with the locals too. Stroll along the sand, set up for a day of swimming and sunbathing or have a go at surfing if you want to try something new. Waikanae beach is only a five-minute drive or a half hour walk from our Gisborne motel and we’re happy to point you in the right direction – just pop in to reception and ask!
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Our beautiful spot on the East Cape of New Zealand’s North Island means we’re surrounded by gorgeous beaches and natural landscapes. So we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to free things to do in Gisborne. In fact, we happen to think that some of the very best activities in Gisborne come at no cost! Just bring yourselves, some basic supplies and a sense of adventure.
Watch the sunrise
The East Cape is the first place in the world to see the sun, so it’s only natural that topping our list of the best free things to do in Gisborne is watching the sunrise. Get up early and make your way to one of the many vantage points around the city. We recommend making your way up Kaiti Hill / Titirangi where you’ll see the sunrise over the harbour and bay or driving up to the beautiful Wainui Beach, just six kilometres north of city. Being one of the first people in the world to see the sunrise is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most, so don’t miss it! Make sure you look up the sunrise time in advance and get there when it’s still dark to get the full experience.
If you’re visiting in the summer months (or you’ve got a high tolerance to cold temps) make sure you try out the Rere Rockslide! The 60-metre natural rockslide is a whole lot of fun and one of the best activities in Gisborne for adventure-lovers. All you need is something to slide down on like a bodyboard, a yoga mat or a tyre tube. You’ll rush down the slippery slope, bumping and sliding your way to the bottom before tumbling into the pool of water at the end. The Rere Rockslide is about 45 minutes from the city, so make sure you have a few turns while you’re there! Just keep an eye out for any water quality warnings on the council website before you go. If e.coli is present, you’ll want to give it a miss.
Tolaga Bay Wharf
At 660 metres, Tolaga Bay Wharf is New Zealand’s longest. Stretching far out over the bay, the wharf is surrounded by blue waters and rocky cliffs. A visit to the wharf is a great idea if you’re looking for easy Gisborne walks where you can snap some beautiful pictures and perhaps have a quick dip while you’re there. Many people who visit the wharf simply enjoy perching at one of the picnic tables and enjoying a bite to eat in the fresh sea air. It’s also a popular fishing spot, so drop in a line if you have a rod handy… You never know your luck!
If you’re not sure what an arboretum is, it’s a botanical garden devoted to trees. And Eastwoodhill is New Zealand’s national arboretum. Situated a half hour drive away from our Gisborne motel, it’s well worth a visit if you’re seeking free things to do in Gisborne. Many of the best Gisborne walks can be found here. Simply stroll around the 131-hectare property at your leisure or follow one of the many trails. A popular walk is the climb up Mt Arateitei which offers incredible views of the arboretum from above as well as the landscape that surrounds.
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Gisborne may be best known for its wines but the restaurants here also get rave reviews. Whether you’re visiting our coastal city for a special celebration or you’re a surfer seeking out brunch after a big morning catching waves, there are some amazing places to eat in Gisborne. We’ve rounded up some of our top picks to help you out if you’re searching for the best restaurants in Gisborne.
USSCO Bar & Restaurant
USSCO is named after the historic building in which is sits, the Union Steam Ship Company building. The riverside venue has a rustic feel with whitewashed brick, high ceilings and dark leather chairs; brightened up with fun pops of colour from the vivid red door to the restaurant’s neon octopus logo that takes pride of place beside the bar. USSCO’s dishes can be shared if desired and some have an Asian influence. Popular options include the Vietnamese pancakes with cashew aioli and roasted duck, the spicy beef biryani and the brioche-crusted Tarakihi. Most of the ingredients are locally sourced and the fresh fish could not be fresher – it comes straight from the Gisborne wharf just 200 metres away. You’ll need to book at USSCO too—it’s one of the best restaurants in Gisborne for good reason!
Right next to USSCO and only a five-minute drive from our Gisborne motel is Flagship Eatery, one of the best places to eat in Gisborne if breakfast is your favourite meal of the day. The casual yet classy restaurant is open for breakfast daily and does a roaring trade. To satisfy the sweet tooth there’s buckwheat pancakes with coconut flavoured yoghurt, seasonal fruit and a white chocolate crumb; or if you’re more of a savoury fan, try the rancheros baked eggs with cannellini beans, chorizo and hollandaise. Flagship Eatery doesn’t take bookings so just show up when hunger strikes. If you do have to wait for a table, we promise it’ll be worth it!
On its website, Portofino says that it “accentuates the European passion and love of fresh and tasty food.” So if you want to feel as though you’ve teleported directly to a beautiful restaurant in Venice, Portofino is the place for you. There are Portofino restaurants scattered across the North Island, but you’d be hard pressed to find one with as many five-star reviews as Portofino Gisborne. Guests rave about the flavoursome dishes, the generous portions and the five-star service. It’s a great place to go if you’re looking for Gisborne things to do with children too—the kids menu caters well to little people with simple yet tasty pizzas and wholesome classics like spaghetti bolognese. And don’t forget the gelato for dessert!
Crawford Road Kitchen
Crawford Road Kitchen is one of those trusty places to eat in Gisborne that you can rely on for a great meal at almost any time of day (just not on a Sunday or a Monday!) Located at the Gisborne Wine Centre with views over the harbour, Crawford Road Kitchen is a great option if you’re looking for Gisborne things to do where you can simply sit and relax. The venue offers wine tasting, making it one of the best restaurants in Gisborne if you want to pair your tasty meal with a refreshing local drop. It can get busy here for lunch and later in the day, so bookings are highly recommended!
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There are loads of fun things to do in Napier, so it’s not hard to fill in a day here with kids in tow! Whether your children are old or young, into sports, swimming, animals or adventure, there is something for them all. We’ve put together a little itinerary for the ultimate fun day out, full of things to do in Napier for families.
Take a morning bike ride
If your kids are younger, they’ll love a play at the Marine Parade Junior Bike Track. The track is laid out like a miniature road with pedestrian crossings, traffic lights, roundabouts and give way signs – a great way to start learning about road rules and safety. The bike track is fenced off from the real road so it’s safe for your children to explore. And it’s not just kids on bikes that are welcome—scooters and roller skates can be found here too! For things to do in Napier for families who have older children, take a bike ride along the water instead. You can hire bikes on Marine Parade—just a five minute walk from our Napier motel—and take off on a 4km ride to the seaside village of Ahuriri. Or just cruise along Marine Parade and take in all the sights!
Arataki Honey Visitor Centre
There’s definitely lots in Napier to do, but some of the best family activities are located just a short drive away. We suggest following your morning bike ride with a 20-minute drive down to Havelock North to the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre. Here, kids will have the opportunity to see bees upo close, to learn about the honey-making process, and to dress up as a beekeeper! Lots of the children’s activities are very hands-on and they’ll even have the chance to taste some fresh and delicious honey.
If you’ve already searched for fun things to do in Napier, we’re sure that Splash Planet must be on your radar! The popular water park is located in Hastings, just a 10-minute drive from Arataki Honey. It’s has several water slides, a wave pool, lazy river and bumper boats, a train, a playground and so much more! It’s only open between November and March and sometimes only on weekends though—so make sure you check this before you arrive!
Silky Oak Chocolate Company
We’re betting you’re already pretty popular in the kids’ books by now, but why not go all out and put the icing on the cake stay with a visit to Silky Oak Chocolate Company? This is one of the best things in Napier to do for those with a sweet tooth – the store stocks a delicious selection of locally handmade chocolates, fudges and other tasty treats! Park up at the café for extreme chocolate drinks all round, then browse the store and take your pick from chocolate coated hoke pokey, coconut rough, chocolate coated marshmallow log or dozens of other mouth-watering delight. And if someone in the family is more of a savoury fan there’s also a range of chutneys, pickles and oils to check out. What a way to end the ultimate family day Napier!
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