Hawkes Bay and Activities

The Hawkes Bay coastline stretches in an unbroken curve from Cape Kidnappers to Mahia Peninsula on the east coast of the North Island. The ranges to the west give way to rolling hills and alluvial plains.

These plains provide much of the land used by the region's orchards and vineyards. A network of rivers which are much valued for fishing, swimming, canoeing and jet boating, crosses the plains. The coastal city of Napier boasts a magnificent harbour and port. From the lookout at the summit of Napier Hill 360 degree bird’s-eye views of the city, harbour and countryside can be enjoyed.

Hastings is about 15 minutes drive from Napier. It is the region's agricultural capital, running west to east to Te Mata Peak.

Te Mata Peak is an important landmark, rising to 399 metres above sea level. It is one of the first places in New Zealand to see the sun. From the summit it is possible to see large tracts of the province, and on clear days Mt Ruapehu is visible.

Havelock North, on the Te Mata Peak foothills, is a charming and rapidly growing village.

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Hawkes Bay has an array of activities and attractions to offer visitors to the area, and is probably best known for its abundance (over 30) of award winning vineyards and its art deco architecture - Napier having the highest concentration of art deco buildings anywhere in the world.

Napier's unique architectural heritage was born out of tragedy. On February 3, 1931, an earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale, followed by rapidly spreading fires, destroyed much of the city. It also raised more than 2000 hectares of land from below sea level.

Four architects in Napier – E. A. Williams, Finch and Westerholme, J. A. Louis Hay and Natusch and Sons - banded together to rebuild the town. Their efforts produced a unique creation: an art deco city. Today, Napier boasts one of the world's most significant collections of art deco buildings, and attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

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Cuisine & Wine

Hawke's Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand and the second largest. Located at 39.4°S, in the North Island of NZ, our climate is maritime and similar to Bordeaux.

The region is New Zealand's leading producer of full-bodied red wines. Red wines dominate, with 88% of New Zealand's production (tonnes) of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah grapes in 2016. We also specialise in rich, complex Chardonnays.

Hawke's Bay wine has beginnings in 1851 pioneering innovation and leadership.

By the early 1920's, Mission Estate, Te Mata Estate, Vidal Estate, McDonalds Winery and Glenvale Winery (now Esk Valley Winery) were all established in the region. The soils and climate that so excited the early winemaking efforts of those pioneers continues to provide the inspiration for the current generation of Hawke's Bay winemakers.

It is now New Zealand's second largest wine region and the largest premium red wine producing region in the country.

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Art deco

Far from the European and American cities where 20th century design evolved, lies a small city that is unique. Napier was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive earthquake which destroyed its commercial heart. Nowhere else in New Zealand can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of this era.

The jazz age styles of striped classical, Spanish mission and, above all, art deco make Napier's architecture unique. It also reflects the indigenous Maori culture in its motifs, and features the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School in the buildings of local architect Louis Hay.

The Art Deco Trust operates a variety of guided walking tours on a daily basis. Self-guided walks or self-drive tours are additional options and the Trust provides informative maps. 

For more information about Napier's art deco architecture visit the art deco website.

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Equestrian

Hawke’s Bay hosts the annual Horse of the Year Show in March. This truly international event and celebration of all things equestrian attracts competitors in dressage, endurance and show jumping from all over the world.

The horse racing scene here is vibrant, with a mix of races and events taking place at the attractive park-like setting of Hastings racecourse. One of the top attractions of New Zealand racing is the Hawke’s Bay Racing Club’s annual Spring Carnival featuring three premier race meetings during August, September and October and providing a unique blend of entertainment and colour complemented by superb facilities and service. 

For more information visit the Horse of the Year website and the Hawkes Bay Racing website