Monday, 28 December 2020

Hawke's Bay family getaway




Ever since our first glamping experience we’ve been hooked! Now when booking holidays or getaways we seem to be basing them around glamping sites that we want to stay at. We've been eyeing up Mangaone Cliffs for a while and a few weeks ago Jake surprised me for my birthday and booked it! If you've been following us for a while you will know we are more about experiences than gifts. 


Mangaone Cliffs is a haven in the depths of the Hawkes Bay. A perfect retreat for those who long to get lost, where you’ll enjoy peace and solitude in a gorgeous natural setting at this cosy glamping site. Mangaone Cliffs is situated just 30 minutes from Napier city in the Hawke's Bay. The campsite sits on a working sheep and beef farm, at the foot of magnificent 75-metre cliffs on the edge of the Mangaone River. This is a place where serious relaxation is to be had! 



This river-side campsite really does put the glamorous in glamping. Every little detail has been thought through with nothing but the most luxurious facilities on offer. The real beauty of glamping is that you save time on camp setup and gear unpacking/packing. This allows you to focus on why you’re camping in the first place, the hikes, family time and enjoying the outdoors. So, if you have family members, children or a spouse that you’re wanting to transition into outdoor life, glamping provides that opportunity in the most unique way. 


Yummy creamy milk Whittakers chocolate and hot bottles on the bed. 


We loved how family friendly our stay at Mangaone Cliffs was. The campsite is made up of two tents, with separate bathroom and kitchen buildings. The large, safari-style tent is the ultimate in luxury with a king-sized bed, fireplace, gorgeous oversized armchairs and all the stylish touches of a 5-star hotel. The second tent is a magical 'Lotus Belle' ideal for kids, with comfortable mattress-style beds. They also have a great selection of board games which provide ideal off the grid entertainment! 


We loved cooking on the BBQ and facilities provided in our private camp kitchen. It had everything we needed from cutlery, crockery to pots and pans. Along with loads of space there was a gorgeous kitchen island to prep all our meals on, enjoy breakfast at or we could relax around the dining table. Mangaone Cliffs is self-catering so we brought along everything we needed to make some delicious meals during our stay. Jake cooked up some lamb chops on the BBQ while I whipped together a couple yummy summer salads. 


One of our highlights staying at Mangaone Cliffs was the double outdoor baths nestled amongst the wiry trunks, overlooking the river. Long White even left us a few cold drinks to enjoy, what a treat! If we weren't bathing in these in the evenings then you could find us on your spacious deck, drink in hand, taking in the sunset views.


After waking up surrounded in nature , hearing nothing but the sounds of the river, we got up and made one of our famous breakfast boards! 


We've done a pancake board and a bagel board but recently we brought a waffle maker and decided it was time to test it out. We love any meal that can be constructed at the table to everyone's personal preference. The best part?! It's all one dish so there's very little clean up!


We have family in Hawkes Bay so we are lucky enough to visit often and each year we try to go strawberry picking over Summer. However this is the first time that Arlo has been with us. I think this is going to become a new tradition of ours and something we can look forward to each year. Once we had organised our snacks and the camera, we headed out to Strawberry Patch which is a great place to go strawberry picking if you find yourself in the Hawkes Bay. 


Arlo had so much fun endlessly searching for the biggest ripest strawberries. The problem was actually stopping him from picking all of them! Pick a few…eat a few. Do you blame him?


Don't forget to also pick up one of their real fruit ice creams....sharing is optional.


I think my heart skipped a few beats when we found this hidden gem! Hawkes Bay may be famous for its food and wine scene but there's some incredible local hot spots if you are wanting to get out into nature. Ready for some exploring and fresh forest air?


Mangatutu Hot Springs is located in the Kaweka Forest Park it's almost impossible to get any closer to New Zealand's natural bush landscape. It was about an hour drive from our Mangaone Cliffs glamping site and involves unsealed gravel roads, but so worth the effort. From the car park you follow a short track down towards the Mohaka River and you are greeted by two large sunken pools, seemingly in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by New Zealand's native forest. 


Thermal water streams from a deep hole in an undercut bank near the top terrace. The water trickles down a riverside bluff, where it is channelled into two pools. The setting and uniqueness of the hot springs makes this trip a must for us. We also enjoyed a picnic lunch down by the river before making our way back.


We had some incredible weather while we were away and spent our afternoons down by our own private river at Mangaone Cliffs watching Arlo splashing and swimming. Listening to the tranquil sound of the water running over rocks, native birdlife and marvelling at the enormity of the limestone cliffs towering above us. The river is great for safe swimming and a blissful, cool relief from those scorching hot Hawke's Bay Summer days. Jake and Arlo looking a wee bit cute in their matching swimwear from Bronte.


After dips in the river we heated up the BBQ and had fresh corn, asparagus and chicken kababs for dinner. 


But the most beautiful thing about this stunning site is the evening light as the sun goes down. It flickers through the tree branches, and creates a magical golden hour. With complete privacy, you can truly relax and be at peace with nothing but the sound of the rushing gurgle of water running in the river. I felt like I was getting to see a side of the Hawkes Bay which few others do. 


One thing I love about Jake is his passion for photography he takes 90% of the photos for this blog and loves to do nighttime photography Mangaone Cliffs lack of light pollutions meant he could even photograph some shooting stars! 


After another peaceful night's sleep waking up in our luxury king size bed in the safari tent, we got up showered and ready for the day. Thank goodness for glamping and having the luxury of hot showers and flushing loos. 


We made up another classic, ‘Jessie & Jake’ breakfast board. This time, a take on the classic Kiwi breakfast but of course all made up on one board. Anyone else think we should make this a thing and open our own cafe?


A view from above before saying farewell to Mangaone Cliffs, we cant wait to come back and visit again soon. I would highly recommend a stay at here for those who want to experience New Zealand’s sublime natural beauty in a luxury setting in the Hawkes Bay. 


On our last day in Hawkes Bay we headed to Te Mata Peak . This place will take your breath away and you can see why it's one of the most loved and visited places in Hawkes Bay. Te Mata Peak is both a visual feature and an integral part of Hawke’s Bay culture and rich in Maori history. 


The park offers visitors stunning 360 degree views of the bay from Mahia to Cape Kidnappers. We headed up and enjoyed a picnic right at the top with goodies that we have picked up from Y’a Bon French Baker, a modern artisan bakery that makes the Bay's best sourdough and fresh baked pastries. You can drive right up to the top via Te Mata Peak Road however, I recommend doing one of the walks, there are walking circuits suitable for both leisure and more active walkers and everything is signposted along the way. For maps and tracks and more info see www.tematapark.co.nz


Before we left Hawkes Bay we went to Napier’s viewing platform on Marine Parade, a perfect spot to enjoy beautiful ocean views. Hawkes Bay has so much to offer families here on Marine Parade. You can find a skatepark, playground, aquarium, pools, walkways, gardens and lots more, so take your bikes or skateboards and go for a wonder to see for yourself. 


Thank you Hawke's Bay for a lovely time away. It was just what our family needed and we can't wait to come back again soon!

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