Capturing the first colours of the day at Te Mata Peak. © anupamhatui

Hawke’s Bay: in search of the good life


View the map

TAP FOR MORE INFO:

‘Waking up at first light you lifted the edge of the canvas wall and there you were, lying on the floor of the world with grass all around, the smell of it in your nostrils, and the first birds whispering somewhere above you.’ Hot October, Lauris Edmond

New Zealand poet Lauris Edmond’s reminiscences of her Hawke’s Bay childhood, of outdoors and fresh air, sunshine and long evenings, still hold true today. The countryside is never far away in this glorious region, and the Kiwi tradition of baches and campgrounds is still strong.

Hawke’s Bay isn’t on the way to anywhere – it takes a deliberate choice to discover its delights. Whether you come to Hawke’s Bay to explore our beaches and the bush, to indulge in the region’s food and wine pleasures or to cycle the ever-expanding network of easy-grade cycle trails, you won’t regret your decision to venture east of State Highway 1. 

If arriving from the north, you’ll first start to relax when you see the sparkle of the wide-reaching ocean from the top of the Napier–Taupō highway.

I really love this art installation in Napier - Spirit of Napier. It represents the city rising from the destruction of the 1931 earthquake. I’m hanging out in Napier this weekend, doing the half marathon in the @airnz Hawkes Bay Marathon event tomorrow. Wish me luck! 😊 . 🔹 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II 🔹 7-14 f/2.8 Pro Lens . . . #NewZealand #NZ #NZMustDo #OlympusInspired #newzealandguide #newzealandvacations #gottolove_this #heart_imprint #hubs_united #ig_bliss #igPodium #igworldglobal #magicpict #splendid_shotz #superbdestinations #superhubs #bbcearth #nature_brilliance #worldplaces #xtrmpic #awesome_globepix #awesomepix #fantastic_earthpix #earthofficial #earthfever #epicworldpix #awesomeglobe #mthrworld #awesome_earthpix #hawkesbaymarathon

A post shared by Laurie Winter | New Zealand (@laurie_winter) on May 11, 2018 at 12:04am PDT

The temperature climbs rapidly as you descend into the North Island’s fruit bowl, cruising through the orchards and vineyards. 

Do stop at a roadside stall or two to stock up on the local produce. I mark the seasons in Hawke’s Bay through those changing orchards: spring blossoms and summer fruit, to autumn leaves and the bare branches of winter. Somehow it’s always a surprise to see the pink and white buds peeking through once again each September. 

Eating and drinking is almost a national pastime in the bay and the range and quality of restaurants and cafés shows how much we appreciate our food. Always fresh and focusing on local ingredients – why wouldn’t you if the best is at your doorstep? – it’s not hard to find an award-winning restaurant or vineyard to visit. The Food and Wine Classic (FAWC), held each year in June and November, offers over 80 outstanding dining events. Locals consider it a highlight and a chance to try something new.

Winter is the perfect time to indulge 😄 #stgeorgesrestaurant #ourspaceyourplace

A post shared by St Georges Restaurant (@stgeorgesrestaurantnz) on Jul 1, 2018 at 9:45pm PDT

If you like a glass of the good stuff, Hawke’s Bay’s wineries are unmissable. The region’s Bordeaux-like climate and wide range of soil types have nurtured grapevines since the 1850s, making this New Zealand’s oldest wine region. The area is famous for its full-bodied reds and complex Chardonnays, and for good reason.

Most months there’s a festival or sports event on, including a growing number of marathon and multi-sport events. The Air New Zealand Hawke’s Bay Marathon led runners through the vines in May 2018 and is returning for 2019.

The Harcourts Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival each October offers world-class theatre to the region, and the well-established Art Deco festival each February in Napier brings locals and visitors alike out in force in their 1930s glad rags. Most locals have an Art Deco outfit or two in their wardrobes or at least a string of beads and a cloche hat to look the part.

Let the festivities begin! #adf2018

A post shared by Art Deco Trust (@art_deco_festival) on Feb 26, 2018 at 3:46pm PST

You won’t regret joining the crowds admiring the vintage cars and marvelling at the acrobatic flying display from the Airforce’s World War One planes.

Hawke’s Bay is attracting an interesting crowd of creative types these days and the feeling in the cafés and galleries about town is upbeat. David Trubridge is perhaps the best known; check out the Hawke’s Bay Art Guide for lists of the many craftspeople dotted about the region who are well worth a visit. 

Lastly, do give yourself enough time to explore the long, wild beaches and lush, green bushwalks; a trek or drive up Te Mata Peak in Havelock North is a great way to get your bearings. While you’re there, take a moment to enjoy some of the local bounty you collected from the fruit stalls when you first arrived and breathe in deeply that fresh Hawke’s Bay air.

Like Lauris, you’ll feel connected with the floor of the world.

Explore more...


Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Natural attractions

Te Mata Peak: Hawke's Bay icon

From Te Mata Peak, on a clear day, you can see the whole of Hawke’s Bay laid out before you – up to Māhia Peninsula in the north and the rugged hills behind the coast to the south. Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Food and drink

Hawke’s Bay Wine Trails

In the Hawke’s Bay wineries seem to loom up at every beautiful turn: glimpsed behind ancient stone gateposts, or boldly front and centre, architecturally announcing their vinous delights.  Read the story . . . 

Where to stay in Hawke's Bay Region

4.4 /5
From $125
4.4 /5
Fairley Motor Lodge Visit website

Situated at the gateway to Napier, Fairley Motel is located at Westshore Beach.Our property is a 5 to 10 minute walk to more than 16 . . . More . . . 

From $125

Book now

Book now

4.6 /5
From $120
4.6 /5
Best Price Around
Gloucester House Motel Visit website

Centrally located in quiet residential tree-lined street. 200 metres to RSA, CBD, supermarket. 11 fully self-contained, air-conditioned, spacious, ground-floor units with full cooking facilities. . . . More . . . 

From $120

Book now

Book now

4.2 /5
From $85
4.2 /5
The Magpie-Hawke's Bay Motel Visit website

Affordable accommodation in Hawkes Bay. Pet Friendly. The Perfect Spot at the Heart of Hawke's Bay Our long hot summers and mild winters make this . . . More . . . 

From $85

Book now

Book now

Wairoa Motel

Peaceful, quiet accommodation 600 mtrs from the main road with Swimmimg Pool, Heated Spa, Mountain Bikes, Free WiFi and 5 Sky Television Channels. . . . More . . . 

Book now

Book now