If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay region, then it’s high time you planned a holiday there. As one of New Zealand’s leading wine producing regions, you can picture the seemingly never-ending vineyards that stretch across the countryside. But wait, there’s more! There are spectacular views, an up-and-coming foodie scene and plenty of outdoor activities to go hand in hand with its temperate climate. Here are five reasons to visit the Hawkes Bay region.
1. Cycle along on Cloud Wine
The Hawkes Bay region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail. Home to 72 vineyards and wineries, most are family-owned which adds a lovely touch. These are all connected by 200 kilometres of flat trails so many travellers choose to hire a bike and cycle between their chosen cellars. The region is well-known for its fertile soil which makes for some incredible tasting wines, including about 32% of New Zealand’s chardonnays and more than 83% of its syrahs!
2. Feel on top of the world
Depending on your fitness and energy levels, choose to walk, mountain bike or drive to the top of Te Mata Peak. At 399 metres tall, summiting this glorious peak to have 360-degree views is breath taking. Cast your gaze across the Heretaunga Plains out to the sea and on the clearest of days, you may be lucky to spot Mount Ruapehu too!
3. Step back in time in the Art Deco capital of New Zealand
After the cities of Napier and Hastings were rocked by a devastating earthquake in 1931, both were rebuilt with Napier incorporating art deco inspiration. The architecture and pastel-coloured buildings adds a fun vibe to the city, with many continually restored and protected. Step back in time at the annual Art Deco Festival that is held in Napier every February, featuring an extravaganza of vintage cars and outfits from the 1920s and 30s.
4. Enjoy a tractor ride to Cape Kidnappers’ gannet colony
Cape Kidnappers is home to the world’s largest gannet colony so hop on a tractor-pulled trailer for a picturesque ride along the beach to see the colony in the flesh. A short walk from the base of rugged cliffs will find you at the gannet colony, sitting at 3,000 strong! This conservation project is very important to the area and includes some reintroduced native birds.
5. Eat your way around the Hawkes Bay region
Make sure to plan your foodie itinerary wisely as there are so many places to choose from! Start off with the weekly farmers’ market in Napier’s Clive Square; move on to lunch at a winery (Black Barn Winery and Church Road have particularly great lunch options) or one of the cafes in Napier; then finish with dinner in Ahuriri, found on the other side of the harbour with several excellent restaurants and bars. Your stomach will thank us later!
The Hawkes Bay region is a must-visit when in the North Island of New Zealand! Check it out on our Cosmos ‘Magnificent North Island’ tour here.