Hawke's Bay & Wairarapa

The gourmet garden of the North Island, the Hawke’s Bay region is renowned for great food, and even better wine. Over 30 wineries scattered around the region offer cellar doors for tasting, and are complemented by other epicurean local delicacies, such as olives and olive oil, local cheeses, honey and farm-fresh produce. The twin cities of Napier and Hastings are the region’s main population centres, and both feature Art Deco architectural gems, as well as small galleries displaying the works of local artists. The rugged coast between Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa is home to an abundant array of wildlife, from Cape Kidnappers, home to a large garnet colony, to Cape Palliser, the southernmost point on the North Island and home to a breeding colony of New Zealand fur seals. Although not as well-known as Hawke’s Bay, the Wairarapa region also offers an eclectic mix of experiences for those who appreciate great wine, gourmet food, abundant wildlife and natural beauty. The region offers quaint, friendly towns, full-of-heritage museums, quiet cafes and art galleries, surrounded by rolling vine-clad hills, rows of apple orchards and olive groves, and fragrant fields of lavender.

Napier

A national disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake rocked Hawke's Bay for more than three minutes. The vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed.

Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years. New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character. Napier's city centre has the feeling of a time capsule - the seamless line of 1930s architecture is quite extraordinary. One of the ways to enjoy the streetscape is on a self-guided walk - ask for a map at the information centre or at the Art Deco Trust. 

Napier’s other special attractions include the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers and the many vineyards that make good use of the region’s alluvial soils. Pinot Gris and Syrah are the region's signature drops. On Saturday mornings, the Napier farmers’ market is a chance to shop for artisan foods and fresh produce.

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Wine

Blessed with long sunshine hours and fertile plains, Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand’s most productive growing regions. It is also the second largest when it comes to wine production.

Wineries and vineyards are dotted throughout Hawke’s Bay, although Gimblett Gravels and Ngatarawa Triangle are two of its most famous wine producing sub-regions. These regions produce a large portion of the Bordeaux-blend reds that Hawke’s Bay is revered for. Owing to its geographical diversity, Hawke’s Bay is also capable of producing a number of other varietals to a high standard, including Chardonnay.

Chris McLennan

Beaches

Hawke’s Bay has a wide selection of beaches stretching from Mahia Peninsula in the north to Porangahau in the south.

If you are into swimming, there are a number of excellent choices. Mahia Beach in the north of the region is a favourite, with a long sandy beach and warm water becoming a playground for swimmers, particularly during the Christmas holidays.

As you would expect with 360 kilometres of coastline, Hawke’s Bay has something for everyone when it comes to water activities and with plenty of sunshine, your day at the beach is one you want to repeat, over and over again. 

 

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Cycling

Stretching from Bay View in the north to Cape Kidnappers in the South, the Hawke's Bay Trails network follows a mix of dedicated cycle paths and quiet country roads. With almost endless route options from easy to ambitious, it’s a great way to reach many Hawke’s Bay attractions while soaking up the scenery.

This extensive trail network loops widely across the Heretaunga Plains and along the coast. Helpfully divided into themed quadrants Water, Landscape, Wineries and the iWay (a handy connector), the trails can also be linked-up and short-cut using the quiet, country roads that criss-cross the plains.

The region is blessed with balmy summers and bright, mild winters, making for great riding at any time of year although riders should always check the forecast and take appropriate clothing for the conditions.

 

Richard Brimer

The Infinity Experience

Earthquake
Around 4000 hectares of Napier that were once underwater were raised above the surface during the devastating 1931 earthquake that wiped out most of the city.

Content & assistance provided by Tourism New Zealand.