Welcome to Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay is a region situated on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island, known for its stunning natural scenery, world-class wine, and rich cultural heritage. The region is located about 320km east of New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, and is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Tararua and Kaweka Ranges to the west.
The climate in Hawke’s Bay is one of the warmest, driest, and sunniest in New Zealand, making it an ideal destination for outdoor activities and events. Summers are hot and dry, while winters are mild and relatively dry, with occasional frosts in the inland areas.
The region is divided into several towns and cities, with the main ones being Napier, Hastings, and Havelock North. Napier is the largest city in the region, known for its stunning Art Deco architecture, world-renowned wineries, and beautiful beaches. Hastings is located just south of Napier and is known for its fertile farmland, producing a wide range of fresh produce, including apples, pears, and stone fruits. Havelock North is a charming village nestled at the base of Te Mata Peak, offering a range of boutique shopping, dining, and accommodation options.
The geography of Hawke’s Bay is diverse, with its stunning landscapes ranging from rugged mountain ranges, stunning coastal scenery, and fertile river valleys. The region is home to several stunning parks and reserves, including Te Mata Peak, Lake Waikaremoana, and the Mohaka Scenic Reserve.
One of the most well-known attractions in the region is its wine industry, which produces world-class wines from over 200 vineyards and wineries. Hawke’s Bay is best known for its full-bodied red wines, including Syrah, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as its crisp and aromatic white wines such as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Hawke’s Bay is also rich in Maori culture and heritage, with several important cultural sites and landmarks located throughout the region. Ngā Pou o Heretaunga is a stunning sculpture located in the heart of Hastings, representing the people and stories of the region’s Maori history. Pania of the Reef is another important cultural landmark located in Napier, depicting the mythical figure who is said to have lured a young warrior into the sea. The Ātea a Rangi Star Compass is a modern interpretation of the traditional Maori navigational tool, located in the grounds of the Waimarama Maori Tours.
Getting to Hawke’s Bay isn’t difficult. The region is services by regular domestic flights from Hawke’s Bay Airport. The region is also connected by State Highways. Many travellers also visit Hawke’s Bay via cruise ship.
Hawke’s Bay has a rich and fascinating history that dates back to the arrival of the Māori people over 800 years ago.
Before the arrival of European explorers, the region was inhabited by Māori tribes, who settled in the area and established communities. These early inhabitants lived off the land, fishing, hunting, and cultivating crops such as kumara (sweet potato) and taro. The fertile land and mild climate of Hawke’s Bay made it an ideal place for growing food and sustaining life.
In 1769, the famous British explorer Captain James Cook sailed past the coast of Hawke’s Bay, but it wasn’t until the early 19th century that European whalers and traders began to visit the region. In 1835, the first European settlers arrived in the area, led by missionary Tom Williams. They established a settlement at Ahuriri, which eventually became the town of Napier.
In the late 19th century, Hawke’s Bay experienced a period of rapid growth and development. The discovery of gold in nearby regions led to an influx of people and money, which helped to establish towns and industries in the area. Agriculture also became an important part of the region’s economy, with farmers growing crops such as wheat, barley, and fruit.
However, Hawke’s Bay also experienced significant hardship during this time. In 1931, a devastating earthquake struck the region, destroying much of the city of Napier and killing 256 people. The earthquake also caused a massive tidal wave that flooded parts of the coast, causing further destruction and loss of life.
Despite this tragedy, Hawke’s Bay quickly rebuilt and continued to thrive. In the 20th century, the region became known for its wine industry, with wineries producing some of the country’s finest wines. Today, the region is a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from around the world with its beautiful landscapes, rich culture, and excellent food and wine.
Hawke’s Bay is a stunning region on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, known for its world-class wines, Art Deco architecture, and beautiful landscapes. Visitors can explore the picturesque countryside, indulge in local produce at the farmers’ markets, or take a scenic flight over the region. Here are the top 10 things to do when visiting Hawke’s Bay
Hawke’s Bay is one of the premier wine regions of New Zealand, famous for its full-bodied red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Wine tours and tastings are a popular activity for visitors to the region, offering a chance to sample some of the finest wines the country has to offer.
There are over 80 vineyards and wineries in the region, with many offering guided tours and tastings. Visitors can take a self-guided tour, hire a bike or join a guided tour, which takes in a number of wineries in the region, often including lunch or dinner with matching wines.
Visitors can learn about the wine-making process, from grape to bottle, and sample a variety of wines, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Syrah. Many wineries have onsite restaurants where visitors can enjoy a meal, often paired with a selection of wines.
Some of the most popular wineries to visit in Hawke’s Bay include Craggy Range, Te Mata Estate, and Mission Estate, which is the oldest winery in the country, dating back to 1851. Wine tours and tastings in Hawke’s Bay are an excellent way to experience the region’s rich culture and history while sampling some of the finest wines in New Zealand.
Hawke’s Bay has a rich Art Deco heritage, which is reflected in the architecture of the region’s buildings, particularly in Napier city. The city was rebuilt in the Art Deco style following a devastating earthquake in 1931, and today it is one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world.
Visitors can take a self-guided walking tour or join a guided tour of the city’s Art Deco buildings, which includes the iconic Daily Telegraph Building, the National Tobacco Company Building, and the Masonic Hotel.
Every year, the city hosts an Art Deco Festival, which celebrates the city’s heritage and culture with a range of events and activities, including vintage car parades, live music, dance performances, and a Great Gatsby-style picnic. The festival attracts thousands of visitors from around the world and is a must-see event for anyone interested in Art Deco architecture and design.
Hawke’s Bay is a haven for golf enthusiasts, offering a range of world-class golf courses with stunning views and challenging layouts. The region’s mild climate and picturesque landscapes make it the perfect destination for a golfing holiday.
One of the most famous courses in the region is Cape Kidnappers Golf Course, which has been ranked as one of the best courses in the world. With its stunning cliff-top location and challenging layout, it’s a must-visit destination for any golf enthusiast.
Other popular golf courses in the region include Hastings Golf Club, Napier Golf Club, and Maraenui Golf Club, each offering its unique challenges and spectacular scenery.
Visitors can also take advantage of the region’s golfing packages, which offer accommodation and tee times at some of the region’s top courses. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, Hawke’s Bay’s golf courses offer something for everyone.
Explore the Markets
Hawke’s Bay is a food lover’s paradise, with a range of farmers’ markets showcasing the region’s fresh, seasonal produce. The Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market is a must-visit, held every Sunday and offering a wide range of locally grown fruits and vegetables, meat and dairy products, and artisanal treats. Visitors can meet the producers, sample the produce, and learn about the region’s agricultural heritage. Other popular markets in the region include the Napier Urban Food Market, the Havelock North Village Farmers’ Market, and the Waipawa Farmers’ Market. Whether you’re a foodie or simply interested in supporting local growers and producers, Hawke’s Bay’s farmers’ markets offer a truly authentic experience.
Te Mata Peak
Te Mata Peak is an iconic landmark located in the Hawke’s Bay region. Standing at 399 meters above sea level, it offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including the Heretaunga Plains, the Pacific Ocean, and the Kaweka and Ruahine Ranges.
According to Maori legend, Te Mata Peak is the body of the giant chief, Te Mata O Rongokako, who was defeated in a battle with another chief and died on the hillside. The legend also tells of how the contours of the peak were formed by the giant’s body being stretched out and reshaped by his brothers, who were mourning his loss.
Today, Te Mata Peak is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding. Visitors can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the area, with the peak surrounded by rolling hills and lush countryside, dotted with vineyards, orchards, and farms.
Cape Kidnappers is a stunningly beautiful headland located just south of Napier. It is a popular tourist destination, known for its unique rock formations, scenic beaches, and abundant wildlife.
The name “Cape Kidnappers” comes from an unfortunate incident that occurred in 1769 when Captain James Cook, the famous British explorer, anchored his ship off the coast. Several Maori men paddled out to the ship and attempted to steal a small boat. In the ensuing struggle, one of Cook’s crew members was taken captive, hence the name “Cape Kidnappers.”
Today, Cape Kidnappers is a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Visitors can take guided tours to see the incredible gannet colonies that nest on the headland’s cliffs, walk along the breathtaking beaches, or enjoy a round of golf on the world-renowned golf course that overlooks the ocean. The area is also popular for hiking and fishing, making it a perfect spot for a day trip or a longer vacation.
Walk the Marine Parade
Napier’s Marine Parade is a picturesque promenade that stretches along the waterfront of Napier City. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the city on the other, it offers a stunning setting for visitors to explore and enjoy.
The Marine Parade has a rich history that dates back to the 1930s when it was rebuilt after a devastating earthquake. Today, it is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, offering a range of activities and attractions. The parade is home to a number of notable landmarks such as the National Aquarium, the Soundshell amphitheater, and the Sunken Garden.
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll or bike ride along the parade, taking in the beautiful ocean views and the art deco architecture that the city is known for. During the summer months, the parade hosts a range of events and festivals, including concerts, markets, and outdoor movie screenings.
The National Aquarium of New Zealand is located in the coastal city of Napier. It is home to a vast range of marine life from New Zealand’s waters, including sharks, stingrays, and fish. Visitors can walk through a tunnel to view the animals swimming overhead, watch live animal feedings, and even get up close with some of the creatures during the aquarium’s interactive experiences. The National Aquarium is a popular family attraction and a great way to learn about the marine environment of New Zealand.
Splash Planet is a popular water park located in Hastings. It is a family-friendly attraction that offers a range of exciting water slides and pools suitable for all ages. The park also includes a wave pool, lazy river, and a children’s water playground, providing hours of fun for the whole family. In addition to the water-based activities, Splash Planet also offers a range of land-based activities such as go-karting and mini-golf. There are also plenty of picnic areas, food outlets, and lockers available for visitors. Splash Planet is open seasonally from November to April and is a must-visit destination for families and water park enthusiasts in Hawke’s Bay.
Keirunga Park Railway
The Keirunga Park Railway is a miniature railway located in Keirunga Park, Havelock North. It is operated by a group of volunteers who maintain the track and trains, providing rides to visitors on weekends and public holidays. The railway features a variety of steam and diesel locomotives, and visitors can enjoy a leisurely ride through the park’s beautiful gardens and scenic surroundings. The Keirunga Park Railway is a fun and unique way to experience the beauty of Hawke’s Bay.
Hawke’s Bay is one of the country’s premier wine regions. The area is home to over 80 wineries, many of which have gained international acclaim for their high-quality wines.
The region’s winemaking history dates back to the 1850s when missionaries first planted grapevines to produce sacramental wine. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the industry began to flourish, with new varieties of grapes being introduced and wineries adopting modern techniques.
Hawke’s Bay is best known for its full-bodied red wines, particularly the Bordeaux-style blends, which are made from a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes. The region is also renowned for its Chardonnay, which is characterized by its citrus and tropical fruit flavors, and Sauvignon Blanc, which is known for its herbaceous and grassy notes.
The climate and soil in Hawke’s Bay are well-suited to growing these grape varieties, which have led to the region’s reputation for producing some of the world’s finest wines. The hot, dry summers and cool nights, along with the gravelly soil, provide ideal growing conditions for the grapes, resulting in wines that are rich, complex, and full of flavor.
Visitors to Hawke’s Bay can enjoy wine tasting and tours at many of the region’s wineries, some of which have gained international recognition for their wines. The Mission Estate Winery, established in 1851, is the oldest winery in the country and a must-visit destination for wine enthusiasts. Visitors can soak up the history and ambience of the estate while tasting their award-winning wines.
Other popular wineries in the region include Trinity Hill, known for its premium blends and stunning views of the surrounding countryside, and Craggy Range, which has gained a reputation for producing some of the world’s best Syrah wines. Te Awanga Estate, Esk Valley Estate, Oak Estate Cellar Door & Kitchen, Church Road, and Unison Vineyard are also highly recommended for wine tasting and tours.
In addition to traditional wine tastings, many of the wineries in Hawke’s Bay offer unique experiences, such as blending your own wine or enjoying a wine and food pairing. Visitors can also explore the vineyards by foot, bike, or helicopter.
Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or simply looking to sample some of New Zealand’s best wines, Hawke’s Bay is the perfect destination. With its rich winemaking history, stunning scenery, and world-renowned wines, it’s no wonder that the region has become a popular destination for wine lovers from around the globe.
Art and culture
Hawke’s Bay offers a rich and diverse range of arts and cultural activities that cater to a wide range of tastes and interests. From contemporary art galleries to traditional Maori cultural experiences, Hawke’s Bay has something for everyone.
One of the main highlights of the region’s art scene is its many galleries, which showcase the works of both local and international artists. These galleries include the Hastings City Art Gallery, which features exhibitions of contemporary art, and the Te Matau a Maui Voyaging Trust, which showcases Maori art and culture. Other popular galleries include the Puke Ariki Museum and the Tennyson Street Gallery.
In addition to its galleries, Hawke’s Bay is also home to several theaters, including the iconic Hawke’s Bay Opera House, which hosts a range of performances throughout the year. There are also a number of smaller theaters and performance spaces that cater to a variety of interests and styles, from comedy to drama to dance.
One of the most unique aspects of the arts and cultural scene in Hawke’s Bay is its rich Maori heritage. The region is home to several important cultural sites, including Nga Pou O Heretaunga, a set of carved Maori poles that stand as a tribute to the region’s ancestors. Another important site is Pania of the reef, a statue that tells the story of a Maori legend.
Other important cultural sites in Hawke’s Bay include the Ātea A Rangi Star Compass, which was created as a way for Maori navigators to find their way across the ocean, and Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve, which is home to the remains of an ancient Maori settlement.
Maori culture is also celebrated through a range of arts and cultural events throughout the year, including the Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival, which showcases traditional Maori song and dance, and the Matariki Festival, which marks the Maori New Year.
Visitors to Hawke’s Bay can also take part in a range of workshops and classes that focus on Maori arts and crafts, such as weaving, carving, and traditional tattooing. These classes offer a unique and immersive way to learn about Maori culture and history.
The region is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, from rugged coastlines and golden beaches to lush forests and rolling hills. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day at the beach, a scenic walk or cycle ride, or a more adventurous experience, Hawke’s Bay has something to offer.
For those who enjoy hiking, the region boasts several beautiful parks and reserves, including Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve and White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve. The Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve is a popular destination for nature lovers, with several walking tracks that lead to stunning views of the falls and surrounding landscape. White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve is home to a variety of native flora and fauna, including tui, kereru, and kahikatea trees. The reserve offers several walking tracks, ranging from easy to more challenging, and is a popular destination for birdwatching and nature photography.
For history buffs, the Otatara Pā Historic Reserve Walk is a must-visit. The reserve is home to a significant Māori pa site, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The reserve offers several walking tracks, with information boards along the way that provide insights into the history and significance of the site.
Puketitiri Reserves also offers several walks, ranging from easy to more challenging, through a stunning forested landscape. Boundary Stream walks are another popular choice for those who enjoy hiking, with several tracks that lead through beautiful native bush and past crystal clear streams.
If you’re looking for more adventurous outdoor activities, Hawke’s Bay has plenty to offer. The region is home to several beautiful lakes, including Lake Waikaremoana, which is a popular destination for hiking, kayaking, and fishing. Te Mata Peak, located just outside of Havelock North, offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular destination for hiking, mountain biking, and paragliding.
The Mahia Peninsula, located to the north of Hawke’s Bay, is another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The peninsula boasts several stunning beaches, including Mahia Beach, which is renowned for its surfing. The Aramoana Beach & Te Angiangi Marine Reserve is a popular destination for diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, with its crystal clear waters and abundance of marine life. The Ahuriri Estuary & Beach in Napier is a popular destination for birdwatching and beachcombing, while Tangoio Beach and Waipatiki Beach are popular destinations for swimming, surfing, and picnicking.
For those who enjoy camping, the Morere Hot Springs Scenic Reserve is a must-visit. The reserve offers several camping sites, as well as several hot pools that are fed by natural hot springs. Shine Falls is another popular destination for camping and hiking, with stunning views of the falls and surrounding landscape.
Hawke’s Bay is known for its stunning natural beauty, world-renowned wine and culinary scene, and its unique Art Deco architecture. The Art Deco style flourished in the 1920s and 30s, and Hawke’s Bay is one of the few places in the world where this style has been so well preserved.
The history of Art Deco in Hawke’s Bay can be traced back to the devastating earthquake that struck the region in 1931. The earthquake was one of the most powerful ever recorded in New Zealand and had a profound impact on the region’s architecture. The rebuilding efforts were heavily influenced by the Art Deco style, which was popular at the time, and many of the buildings that were constructed during this period still stand today.
One of the most notable Art Deco buildings in Hawke’s Bay is the iconic National Tobacco Company building in Napier. This stunning building was designed by local architect Louis Hay and features intricate geometric designs, bold colors, and ornate detailing. The building has been beautifully restored and now houses a variety of businesses and shops.
Another must-see Art Deco building in the region is the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings. This stunning building was originally built in 1915 but was extensively refurbished in the Art Deco style in the 1930s. The building features a beautiful facade with intricate detailing, as well as a stunning interior that has been beautifully restored to its former glory.
For those who want to explore the Art Deco heritage of Hawke’s Bay in more detail, there are several tours available that showcase the region’s architecture and history. The Art Deco Trust in Napier offers a range of guided walking tours that take visitors through the city’s most iconic Art Deco buildings, while the Hawke’s Bay Vintage Car Club offers Art Deco-themed tours in a range of vintage cars.
Every year, Hawke’s Bay hosts the Art Deco Festival, which is one of the most popular events in the region’s calendar. The festival is a celebration of the Art Deco heritage of the region and features a range of events, including vintage car parades, live music and dance performances, and a Great Gatsby-themed picnic. The festival attracts visitors from all over the world and is a unique opportunity to experience the Art Deco heritage of Hawke’s Bay in a fun and festive environment.
Eat and Drink
Hawke’s Bay is a stunning region known for its breathtaking landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and of course, its world-renowned wine and culinary scene. Visitors to this beautiful area are spoilt for choice when it comes to finding great food and drink, with an impressive range of restaurants, cafes, wineries, and bars to suit all tastes.
One of the most popular destinations for foodies in Hawke’s Bay is the historic town of Havelock North, which boasts a thriving food and wine culture. This charming town is home to several highly rated restaurants, including the acclaimed Elephant Hill Winery and Restaurant, which serves up delicious contemporary cuisine using fresh, locally sourced ingredients. Another must-visit spot in Havelock North is the popular Pipi Cafe, which offers an extensive menu of innovative dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options.
Further north, in the coastal town of Ahuriri, visitors can enjoy an array of bars and restaurants overlooking the stunning Hawke’s Bay coastline. The iconic Emporium Eatery & Bar is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, offering an extensive menu of mouth-watering dishes created by award-winning chef, Chris Tait. The restaurant’s beautiful interior and outdoor dining area also provide the perfect backdrop for a memorable evening out.
No visit to Hawke’s Bay would be complete without sampling the region’s famous wines, and with over 80 vineyards to choose from, visitors are truly spoilt for choice. One of the most highly regarded wineries in the area is Craggy Range, which produces a range of exceptional wines, including its flagship Bordeaux blend, The Sophia. Visitors can take a guided tour of the vineyards and winery, and sample some of the region’s most outstanding wines while taking in the stunning scenery.
For those who prefer a more casual dining experience, Hawke’s Bay is home to a wealth of artisanal cafes and bakeries, many of which are located in the charming towns of Hastings and Napier. One of the most popular is the delectable Silky Oak Chocolate Company, which produces a range of mouth-watering chocolates using only the finest ingredients. Visitors can enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee while indulging in some of the company’s delicious treats.
Overall, Hawke’s Bay is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves great food and wine. With its impressive range of restaurants, cafes, wineries, and bars, visitors are sure to find something to suit their taste buds. Whether you’re looking for fine dining, casual cafes, or a glass of world-class wine, Hawke’s Bay has it all, and is sure to leave a lasting impression on anyone lucky enough to experience it.
Hawke’s Bay is a great destination for families looking for a variety of fun-filled activities to enjoy together. Here are some of the top family-friendly tourism activities that holidaymakers can experience when visiting the region.
One of the top destinations in Hawke’s Bay is Splash Planet. This water park in Hastings offers a wide range of water rides and attractions, including a lazy river, wave pool, and multiple water slides. In addition to the water attractions, Splash Planet also has a range of dry activities, such as mini-golf and go-karts, making it a great destination for a full day of family fun.
Another popular destination in the region is the National Aquarium of New Zealand, located on Napier’s Marine Parade. This aquarium is home to a wide variety of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and sea turtles. Visitors can also participate in interactive experiences, such as feeding the fish and getting up close and personal with a live octopus. Children will love the interactive displays and the opportunity to learn about the ocean and its inhabitants.
Keirunga Park Railway, located in the town of Havelock North, is another family-friendly attraction. This charming miniature railway takes visitors on a journey through the park’s beautiful gardens and forests, making it a fun and unique way to explore the area. Children will love riding on the train, and adults can enjoy the scenic views along the way. The railway operates on weekends and public holidays, and visitors can purchase tickets at the station.
For a unique family adventure, Gannet Beach Adventures is a must-see destination. This guided tour takes visitors on a tractor ride along the rugged coastline to see the gannet colonies that make their homes on the cliffs. The tour includes a stop at a local winery, where adults can enjoy some wine tasting while the kids enjoy the scenic views.
Par 2 Mini Golf is a fun destination for families looking for a low-key activity. This mini-golf course in Napier features two 18-hole courses, one of which is themed around the region’s famous Art Deco architecture. With waterfalls, streams, and sand traps, the course is a challenging but fun activity for all ages.
Superstrike, located in Hastings, is another fun activity for families. This tenpin bowling alley has multiple lanes and a range of fun features, such as laser lights and a music system. Children will love the neon colors and fun atmosphere, and parents can enjoy some friendly competition.
Hawke’s Bay also offers a range of outdoor activities for families. There are numerous beaches in the region, such as Ocean Beach and Waimarama Beach, where families can swim, sunbathe, and build sandcastles. There are also several parks and nature reserves, such as the Waitangi Regional Park and the Cape Kidnappers Coastal Reserve, where families can hike, bike, and explore the region’s stunning natural beauty.
For educational activities, The Faraday Centre in Napier is a museum dedicated to the history of technology and innovation in New Zealand. Visitors can explore a range of interactive exhibits, including a steam engine and a vintage telephone exchange. Children will love the hands-on displays and the opportunity to learn about the history of technology.
When it comes to food options, Hawke’s Bay is known for its fresh produce, wine, and craft beer. The region has a range of family-friendly restaurants and cafes, many of which offer outdoor seating and stunning views. For a unique experience, families can also visit the farmers’ markets in Napier and Hastings to taste the region’s delicious produce and meet the local producers.
Overall, Hawke’s Bay offers a wide range of family-friendly tourism activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained.