There’s a valley, just out from Havelock North, in the North Island’s Hawke’s Bay named Tuki Tuki….Here you travel along Waimarama Road, underneath majestic Te Mata Peak and past a beautiful winery, and cross the Tukituki River by a red bridge. You’ll find breathtaking countryside and vistas. And a visit along the way - to an impressive shipping container coffee stop, that references that red bridge - shouldn’t be missed.
Morning caffeine stops
Anytime’s a good time for a Tuki Tuki explore, although it’s been said that autumnal late afternoon is extra special - gorgeous light and seasonal colours. But an autumnal morning visit means a morning coffee fuel stop. It’s a stop on the radar of many Hawke’s Bay locals.
On a corner section just off a red bridge leading into the Tuki Tuki Valley, on Waimarama Road coming from Havelock North, there’s a lovely rustic coffee container, a coffee spot popular with locals and travellers alike passersby.
Welcome to Red Bridge Coffee. Come in, we are awesome.
Here’s a place named for the bridge that travellers cross each day. And here’s a place clearly a big part of a rural Hawke’s Bay community. Workers, school mums and dads, farmers, stock agents and international travellers - a range of coffee drinkers, pulling in for their caffeine shot and a bit of a chat.
And it’s set in a shipping container, more than a traditional coffee cart, less than a full-blown cafe, and a tremendous example of the coffee spots perfect to find on travels around this beautiful country of New Zealand. Room for customers to stand and sit inside, plenty of room outside under the awning and beyond in the field, and just the right room for that coffee and treat.
Flat white, long black, today’s good mood is sponsored by coffee. We’re set for more travels…. and more stories.
A demolishing power
Travel through the Tuki Tuki and seek those stories.
The stunning Tukituki River flows for more than 100 km, passing through the town of Waipukurau before reaching Hawke Bay close to Hastings (that’s Hawke Bay the bay, rather than Hawke’s Bay the region - read more on the difference here). And here, in the Tuki Tuki Valley, it’s separated from Havelock North by the craggy range of hills that includes Te Mata Peak. Quite the spot up there, for a view - of the river, the valley and the bay.
We’ve read that the Māori name Tukituki roughly translates "to demolish", some say referring to the power of the river in flood. And a Māori legend has it that there were two taniwha (water spirit or monster) living in a lake at the southern end of the river that fought over a young boy after he fell into the lake. The struggle of the two taniwha was thought to split the river into the Waipawa and Tukituki Rivers, and drain the lake.
No more struggles around here, particularly with that morning coffee on board.
And coffee back at home base
All that coffee talk got us thinking about caffeine later in the day too, try a New Zealand inspired affogato idea, back at home base. Pop a scoop of your favourite New Zealand ice-cream in a glass, and top with a shot of your favourite New Zealand long black. Serve, if you like, with a liqueur - click here for more.
Your road trip companion…
To find more on The FoodPath NZ’s handpicked eateries and food producers, for our collection of spot on New Zealand food moments (and coffee stops) to check out on your next New Zealand trip, including the lovely Red Bridge Coffee and more, download The FoodPath NZ’s app here.