In a sunny valley in Hawke’s Bay, a massive crowd gathers. They carry sun umbrellas, picnic rugs, baskets of food and bottles of wine.
They wear sunhats and big smiles: they’re at the annual Mission Concert. In years past it’s been Shirley Bassey, Rod Stewart, the B52s or Tom Jones pulling them in. Each summer, it’s a different big overseas act.
Mission Estate Winery is one of many world-class wineries in Hawke’s Bay and while they’re not all hosting international musicians, they’re smart with their marketing and are generally open for visits and tastings. It’s big business and a big drawcard.
So are the climate, the beaches, the scenery, a whole raft of top produce grown here, the local art and craft scene and a variety of cool little towns.
Speaking of beaches, Mahia Peninsula has some of the best surfing waves in the country. And surfers can relax after a day at the beach with a soak in the therapeutic Morere Springs, which are set in a native bush reserve with great walking tracks.
Towards the south, between the forested Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges and the ocean, the Heretaunga Plains are sliced into portions by wide, braided rivers – the perfect landscape for cycling, fishing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.
Missionaries planted the first wines in Hawke’s Bay
Hawke's Bay essentials
- At Cape Kidnappers, the gannet colony is best visited by joining a tour on the back of a tractor
- Have a pizza at Pipi café in Havelock North
- Visit Black Barn Vineyard’s art gallery in Havelock North