The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
446 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawkes Bay
Set atop 6,000 rolling acres of pasture-land in Hawke’s Bay, the Farm at Cape Kidnappers enjoys panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and New Zealand’s rugged countryside.
Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.co.nz; 13 24 76) operates daily flights from Auckland and Wellington to Napier/Hawke’s Bay Airport (www.hawkesbay-airport.co.nz). There are no international flights direct to Hawke’s Bay so international guests will have to fly via one of New Zealand’s main cities. Auckland Airport is easiest. The Hawke’s Bay Airport is 38kms from the hotel.
The main car hire companies have desks at Hawke’s Bay Airport or taxis are also available (Baywide Taxis 0800 88 55 33, Hastings Taxis 0800 875 055, or Hawke’s Bay Combined Taxis 0800 627 437). A shuttle service can also take you from the airport to the Farm (www.sspershuttle.co.nz; 0800 748 885) but reservations are a must. If you opt to drive from Auckland allow six hours, from Wellington it’s a shorter four hour drive.
Helicopter transfers from Auckland, Wellington and Taupo can be arranged.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you fancy a bit of exercise there's endless activities in and around the hotel. You'd be mad to pass up a round of golf, as the cliffside par 71 championship course here is ultra-beautiful, boasting 18 holes set over dramatic rolling green hills and ravines which cascade down to the crashing waves belows, with vertiginous views to match. Voted 27th best course in the world, it's been designed by maestro Tom Doak, known for incorporating natural landscape features into his work. Golf fees vary depending on the season; you can rent gear on site and there's a woolshed-style Clubhouse on hand for post-game dining or drinks. Just don't expect the watching sheep or cattle to applaud when you land that hole in one.
Alternatively, the hotel offers mountain biking, walking trails, flat-rock fishing or quad biking. Want to chill out? Then lie back at the spa, for sensual treatments in a gorgeous, verdant natural setting. Or head off for a picnic in the dramatic coastal grounds (we recommend Flat Rock).
Animal life is also abundant here, from a tour of this working sheep and cattle farm, on foot or by four-wheel drive, to safaris at the local gannet colony or Kiwi Discovery Walks, a chance to encounter New Zealand's famously rare and endangered kiwi bird in a local conservation project, with wildlife experts on hand to guide you and help track down the elusive feathered fellows. The hotel has been involved in reintroducing the species, along with other native birds, to the peninsula and the Farm's own grounds, in tandem with Cape Kidnapper Nature Preserve.
Beyond the hotel's grounds, Hawkes Bay offers even more extreme adventure sports, including river kayaking and white-water rafting. Horse treks, hot air ballooning, paragliding and helicopter flights are also up for grabs if you'd rather survey the countryside from a lofty height. But if your idea of fun is more raising a glass, than raising your adrenaline levels, then there are food and wine tours to help you make the most of this gourmet paradise (a fertile agricultural area, Hawkes Bay is famous both as a wine region and for growing quality food). The hotel hosts regular wine appreciation classes, dinners and tastings with visiting chefs and wine experts.
On an architectural tip, the hotel can arrange an Art Deco tour, taking in the pretty, grandiose buildings of towns like nearby Napier and Hastings, where the style flourished in the wake of a 1931 earthquake which demolished older buildings.
For mouthwatering French and NZ food, make a trip to Terrôir restaurant at the Craggy Range Winery, 253 Waimarama Road in Havelock North (+64 (0)6 873 0143). Team its own-label wines with local seafood. Elephant Hill Estate & Winery (+64 (0)6 872 6060), at 86 Clifton Road, Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay, serves up Mediterranean-influenced cuisine, such as duck risotto or fresh ocean fish, in its architecturally arresting modern restaurant and bar. Soak up striking vistas of Cape Kidnappers through floor-to-ceiling glass windows or from outdoors on the poolside terrace. For Italian food with a side serving of watery views, head for Milk & Honey Restaurant on Hardinge Road, Ahuriri, Napier (+64 (0)6 833 6099), within the Crown Hotel complex.