Wairoa to Napier

The only realistic route between Wairoa and Napier follows SH2 all the way. There are three substantial climbs and a number of moderate undulations as the route traverses valleys and gorges. For much of the way the road is rather winding and the shoulder narrow. Traffic can be heavy, especially over the summer holiday period.

However, the scenery is varied and interesting, and there are some good views along the way. A recently-opened (2011) bridge just north of Kahika has removed one of the steepest and most winding gorge crossings.

Wairoa to Lake Tutira (80k)

Wairoa River Gradients are gentle for the first 25 km, but then there's a steepish climb over Taumatataua Hill (250 m). The descent into the Mohaka river valley offers good views both to the sea and inland up the valley. After crossing the river, the road climbs up the side of the valley, passing under the impressive railway bridge which towers 100 m over the river below. After this climb to 200 m is over, the road undulates a bit and then descends gradually to Putorino, which consists of a few farms and a popular café. After the steepish 100 m climb out of Putorino the road rolls easily all the way to Lake Tutira. You can stock up with provisions at a small shop/café at Tutira village, just before you get to the lake.

There's a idyllically-situated DOC camp site at the southern end of Lake Tutira. Turn off the highway and continue for 1 km past the rest area with shelter near the main road, to the camping area. Facilities are very basic (toilets and water taps) but the site is far enough away from the main road to be quiet and restful, and there are various wild-life to look at. Unfortunately, the lake is not always suitable for swimming, see signs at the lakeside. A walking track (unsigned) leads up the hill above the camp site to a small shelter, from which there are superb views out over the lake.

Lake Tutira to Napier (38k)

The Beach Just North of Napier From Lake Tutira SH2 rises gently at first, followed by a steep descent that loses 125 m of elevation, down to the Waikoau river. Almost immediately starts a long climb that gains over 250 m of elevation over 8 km, but after that it's all downhill to the coast just past Tangoio. After that, SH2 follows the coast of Hawkes Bay and is flat the rest of the way to Napier, with its characteristic Art Deco architecture, numerous public gardens and friendly, relaxed seaside ambiance. There are numerous hostels including YHA along the sea-front, and there's a well-equipped though rather expensive camp site at Kennedy Park.