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Top 5 Things To Do In The Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay Vineyard 2
Hawke's Bay Vineyard 3
Gannet Colony at Cape Kidnappers
Hawke's Bay Vineyard
Hawke's Bay Cycleways
Art Deco Weekend 1

Top 5 Things To Do In The Hawke's Bay

story by: Tom Ricketts

The Hawke's Bay region sits on the east coast of the North Island and is defined by the large bay after which it is named. It's home to the twin cities of Napier and Hastings, as well as smaller centres like Havelock North, Wairoa and Waipukurau. Barely ten minutes apart, Hastings and Napier are often referred to as one city and if counted together, they just pip Tauranga for New Zealand's fifth largest city. There's regular flights to Napier (Hawke's Bay Airport) with Air New Zealand. What's to do once you're there? Here's our top five...

Art Deco Napier
Everyone knows the story of how Napier was devastated by an earthquake in 1931 and rebuilt in the style of time, Art Deco. However what you might not know, is just how much of the CBD is actually Art Deco. When strolling the streets you really do get the feeling that the whole CBD must have just been a entire blank slate to be rebuilt (sadly not unlike what's happening in Christchurch today). And thankfully the citizens of Napier had the foresight to protect the Art Deco buildings so very little has been pulled out since then. Buildings of all shapes and sizes feature throughout city, with perhaps the most impressive being the domed T&G Building or National Tobacco Company building. Throw in some vintage cars, great sculptures and art, and even the odd citizen dressed in 30's garb and you have yourself the must see Art Deco city of Napier.

Hawke's Bay is New Zealand's second largest wine producing region but unlike the majority of New Zealand wine regions, red is specialty here. The best way to see the vineyards is on one of the regions well developed network of cycleways which criss cross the vineyards. Any purchases you make can be collected for you and if you've had a few too many samples yourself or just plain don't feel like cycling any more, you can be collected and returned to Napier along with your purchases.

Havelock North
The quaint town of Havelock North is only half an hour from Napier and known for its exclusive vineyards. Some of the regions biggest names have cellar doors and award winning restaurants here. The town itself has some great restaurants too, as well as a small collection of boutiques and shops.

Cape Kidnappers
About 20 kilometres east of Napier you'll find Cape Kidnappers, the easternmost point of the region. The cape gets its name from Captain Cook after local Maori attempted to abduct a member of his crew there. Today the cape is home to thousands of gannets which attract regular day tours from Napier. Here you'll also find the Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a super luxury resort home to one of the best golf courses in New Zealand, and even often rated amongst the best in the world.

Te Mata Peak
Just south of Havelock North, Te Mata Peak is the highest in the area and has wonderful views over the regions vineyards as well as the twin cities of Napier and Hastings. On a clear day, you can even see as far as Mt Rupehu! There's a paved road to the top of the peak, but from there you'll find plenty of tracks for walking and mountain biking.

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