Panoramic mountain views, unfathomably blue water and foodie delights, you can find it all in Hawea.
Take a fifteen minute scenic drive out of Wanaka and you’ll come across the quiet paradise of Lake Hawea. A place of vivid beauty, mountainous extremes and serenity, Lake Hawea is a quintessential South Island location.
On a beautiful late summer’s evening, we escaped the doldrums of office life and headed out for a night in Hawea.
We arrived at The Camp just as the golden hour sun began to break through the trees. The friendly staff directed us to our glamping site where we were lucky enough to score the spacious Safari Tent and a to-die-for view to boot!
Decorated with plaids, furs and solid wood furniture, we couldn’t help but feel like we had been transported to our own private backcountry escape. Our site was situated away from the rest of the campground and with a wall of trees between us and the next site, we truly felt alone in the wild.
We curled up in the adirondack chairs and watched the sun go down while drinking complimentary Maude rose and snacking on some delicious bites from the campground food truck (pro-tip: you don’t have to be staying at the campground to enjoy the killer food truck eats, just rock up!).
If you’re in Hawea, you have to try the Hawea Store & Kitchen. Situated on the corner of Capell Avenue, this quaint gem celebrates farm to table and all things local.
The patio is beautifully decorated and gave us an incredible vantage point overlooking the lake and mountains. And a perfect place to sample some incredible dishes!
Our friendly server brought out our first course and we knew immediately that we were in for a special night of dining. First up, puffed roti served with harra and salted buffalo curd, buttermilk fried chicken and grilled courgette and fennel. Not only did each of the dishes taste incredible, but, as you can see, each was beautifully plated.
For our main course, we shared a half roast free range chicken and the pan roasted salmon with a ginger and lemon grass broth. The chicken was perfectly cooked and although neither of us had ever had salmon paired with a broth before, it was a unique take that we both enjoyed. For dessert, we had a dark chocolate tart and sticky orange doughnuts, which taught us that no matter how full you think you are; NEVER skip dessert.
When we arrived back at the Camp, we brewed a nighttime tea while we waited for the heated blankets to warm up. Snuggled up in bed, the peacefulness was punctuated by the gentle crashing of the lake waves below us.
Waking up the next morning relaxed and refreshed, we concluded that a night in Hawea should be on everyone’s Wanaka bucket list. Truly, a trip to our little mountain haven is incomplete without a short drive down the road to this hidden holiday gem.