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Hawke’s Bay
-> Map of Hawke’s Bay

Our Hawke's Bay and Napier travel tips:

  • Hawke's Bay and Napier travel tipsInstead of driving the Desert Road twice take a detour via Napier, if Rotorua is your next stop you won't lose much time.
  • Three of the scenic New Zealand routes join at Hawke’s Bay - the Pacific Coast Highway from the East Cape, the Thermal Explorer Highway from Taupo and the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail from Wairarapa.
  • Plan some time for a wine tasting, you're coming into serious wine country here!
  • The Art Deco architecture is a pleasurable background for the nice cafes and shops, Napier is a great place for a restful afternoon.

Hawke's Bay and Napier travel tips

Days of indulgence and Art Deco

For travellers, Hawke’s Bay Wine Country presents an eclectic mix of visual and sensual experiences. The region is New Zealand’s leading producer of red wines, has the greatest concentration of Art Deco architecture and hosts the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki - the Maori New Year. As if that weren’t enough, Hawke’s Bay is also known for its artisan gourmet foods and glorious beaches that stretch from Mahia Peninsula in the north to Porangahau in the south.

The landscapes of Hawke’s Bay begin with the high, forested Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges. From the mountains, the land steps down towards the coast, flattening out to become the Heretaunga Plains. A number of wide rivers run swiftly to meet the blue Pacific Ocean. The twin cities of Napier and Hastings are the main population centres.

Blessed with a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate, Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions.

Hawke's Bay and Napier travel tips: A Deco architectureThe agricultural heritage of Hawke’s Bay lives on in the region’s wineries, orchards and artisan food producers. At any time of the year, you can follow food and wine trails to discover exceptional taste sensations.

Wildlife by the sea: Cape Kidnappers nature reserve is home to the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world. Known to Maori as takapu, these birds usually breed on islands.

Unusual places: From elegant Art Deco architecture to a settlement with the world’s longest place name, Hawke’s Bay will capture your interest with amazing stories. Learn about the past, both ancient and recent, with a local guide.

See here for hotels in the Hawke’s Bay region.

Source: Tourism New Zealand

Highlights of the Hawke's Bay region

  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tips: A Deco architectureNapier: This lovely city on the edge of the Pacific was completely rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1931. The disaster offered the city a chance to recreate everything in the contemporary Art Deco style, making it one of the leading Art Deco heritage centres in the world. It's a sunny seaside town with a long marine parade along the wide ocean beach. Napier also hosts the National Aquarium on its waterfront, with blue penguins and a tunnel aquarium full of native ocean life. There's also a public swimming pool behind the beach, the Ocean Spa.
  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tips: A Deco architectureCape Kidnappers: One of the few mainland gannet colonies can be seen from up close, thousands of these beautiful sea birds nest here in summer. The ideal months for a visit are November to February, from May to October there are no birds and the site is closed off. Access is not that easy unless you book a tour, from Clifton Domain the colony is 8 kilometres away, the track is directly on the beach and only accessible at low tide.
  • Hastings: Bigger than Napier, this is the agricultural and industrial centre of the Hawke's Bay region, although not as scenically positioned on the Pacific as Napier. It was equally hard hit by the 1931 earthquake and now also boasts a high number of gorgeous and contemporary buildings from the Art Deco rebuild period, most of all the surprising Hawke's Bay Opera House.
  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tipsThe vineyards: Long sunshine hours and winemaking traditions going back to the 19th century make this one of the most important wine regions in New Zealand, especially for red wines. Vineyards invite visitors to taste their famous wines, into their restaurants and elegant properties
  • Taumata-whakatangihanga-koauau-o-tamatea-turi-pukakapiki-maunga-horo-nuku-pokai-whenua-kitanatahu:
    Name of a hill in the Hawke's Bay - 'The hilltop, where Taumata with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his nose flute to his beloved'. The sign is about 60 kilometres south of Waipukurau, on Wimbledon Road.

The best Hawke's Bay walks

  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tipsSelf-Guided Heritage Walks, more information from the i-SITE in Napier
  • Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve - ideal between November and February (5 h return), along the beach from Clifton Domain
  • Pekapeka Wetlands with boardwalks, State Highway 2, south of Hastings
  • Tangoio Beach and Whakaari Headland - good for walks, near Whirinaki
  • Boundary Stream Mainland Island - a range of walking tracks, for example the Tumanako Loop Track Interpretation Nature Walk, access via Pohokura Road, near Tutira
  • Puketitiri Reserve - a range of short walks, access from Puketitiri Road, Puketitiri
  • Te Reinga Falls Scenic Reserve Walk - a 35 m high waterfall (5 min), on Ruakituri Road, north of Wairoa
  • Mahia Peninsula Scenic Reserve Track - round trip through coastal forest (2,5 h return), access via Kinikini Road, south of Mahia Beach

The best Hawke's Bay lookouts

  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tipsBluff Hill Lookout - on the Bluff Hill Walkway from Lighthouse Road, Napier
  • Te Mata Peak Lookout - accessible by car, also many walking tracks from the Main Gates car park, Te Mata Peak Road, Havelock North
  • Mahia lookout hill - wonderful view of Mahia beach (20 mins), Newcastle Street, Mahia

The best Hawke's Bay museums

  • Hawke's Bay and Napier region tips: A Deco architectureMTG Hawke's Bay - Museum Theatre Gallery, Tennyson Street, Napier
  • Central Hawkes Bay Settlers Museum, High Street, Waipawa
  • Hastings City Art Gallery, Eastbourne Street, Hastings
  • Hastings Community Arts Centre, Russell Street South, Hastings
  • Wairoa District Museum, Marine Parade, Wairoa
  • Norsewood Pioneer Cottage Museum, Scandinavian pioneer museum, Coronation Street, Norsewood
  • British Car Museum, East Road, Te Awanga

Map of the Hawke’s Bay region

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