Destinations

Wandering among the vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand

Hawke’s Bay region is widely known for its wineries and vineyards, but also for it’s many orchards. You could spend weeks if not months, visiting the wineries and sampling local products. That said, there is so much more to Hawke’s Bay than that. Situated on the east coast of the North Island in New Zealand, it is also blessed with beautiful beaches and picturesque hinterland, perfect for hiking and exploring new cycle trails.

things to do in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
A vineyard in Hawke’s Bay

So, what would be the best place to stay while touring this gorgeous region? For Estralians, we felt like the city of Napier was the place to be 🙂 Similarly to Christchurch, Napier too was destroyed by an earthquake. (Napier earthquake happened in 1931). So, we were intrigued to see how well this city has come together.

Things to do in Napier
Ready to explore the Art Deco

Without further ado, below you’ll find Estralians ‘Things to do in Hawke’s Bay’ list. Also, feel free to add in your own recommendations in the comments section of this post 😉 And we’ll put our best foot forward to put together a post with all the suggestions.

Enjoy views from Bluff Hill Lookout

If you are looking for a great lookout in Napier, then you should make your way up to Bluff Hill. You can either drive all the way up or follow one of the walking trails.

Things to do in Napier
Bluff Hill Lookout

Beside the lookout, this place has a beautiful garden area with chairs and tables. Gorgeous spot to have a picnic on a warm day while looking over the water. Great for a romantic hangout as well.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay
Bluff Hill Garden

Know that, this lookout does not have 360 views. You can only see the north of the city and the Ahuriri Port. Nevertheless, it’s still a great lookout and perfect place to enjoy the sunsets. Worth the drive up the hill.
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Have a picnic at Perfume Point

Perfume point is another great spot for a picnic or walk in Napier. It’s close to Ahuriri village and has a beautiful wide boardwalk and playground for the little ones.

Places to see in Napier
Perfume Point

There are also 5 gigantic chairs at the Perfume Point where you could rest your feet, read a book or by all means take some #instagood pics 😀

Things to do in Hawke's Bay
The giant Chairs in Perfume Point

PS! According to locals, it’s also a great spot to catch some fish 😉🎣🐟 #Fush&Chups
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Visit MTG Hawkes Bay

MTG Hawke’s Bay is an award-winning Museum, Theatre and Gallery combined in one. It is located in downtown Napier and the collection features over 90,000 individual items.

Places to visit in Napier
MTG Hawke’s Bay

Visit MTG – it’s free!
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Go for a walk at Napier Beach Front

Although the beach in Napier isn’t that fabulous, a walk along the beach (Marine Parade) will surely impress you. The Marine Parade walkway is around 7 km long and it offers many Art Deco buildings and structures.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay, Napier
Marine Parade Platform

Beside the main attraction -“cloud shaped” Marine Parade Platform, you will walk passed many interesting sites like Ocean Spa, Napier War Memorial Centre, Tom Parker Fountain, Sunken Garden as well as different sculptures.

Things to do in Napier
Marine Parade in Napier

One of the most impressive site on the promenade, in Estralians opinion, is The Colonnade and Plaza accompanied with the Soundshell Stage. (Built in 1935 following the 1931 earthquake in Hawke’s Bay).

Best things to do in Hawke's Bay, Napier
The Colonnade and Plaza and Napier Soundshell

And that is not all. For children and teens, there are also Par2 MiniGolf, Bay Skate, Marine Parade Playground, Junior Bike Track and of course The National Aquarium of New Zealand. With so many different sites, Marine Parade is 110% one of the places you should include in your list of things to see and do in Hawke’s Bay.
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Stop by the Atea A Rangi

Ātea a Rangi Star Compass is located in Waitangi Regional Park next to the beautiful Hawk’s Bay coastline. Designed and constructed in collaboration with a team of navigators, waka sailors landscape architects and local carvers, the compass is a classroom that teaches students how to navigate by the stars.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Ātea a Rangi Star Compass

The main purpose of Ātea a Rangi is to ensure that the art of Whakatere waka (traditional navigation) is passed on to other generations. PS! The area also marks the first place in Hawke’s Bay where Maori and Europeans lived together as a community.
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Pick your own fruit

As we all know…or maybe some of you don’t… Hawke’s Bay is blessed with many orchards. That in mind, one of the must things to do in Hawke’s Bay, is picking some fresh fruits. The most popular place to do this is at the Strawberry Patch where they grow three varieties of strawberries – Camerosa, Camille Royal and Albion.

Pick your own fruit in Hawke's Bay
Strawberry Patch

Before you plan your trip, you should note that, although Strawberry season runs from Oct to May, the Pick your own aka PYO season is much shorter. So, make sure to check their website for PYO times 😉 PS! If you miss the picking season, then you can still buy some fresh fruit or ice cream from their onsite store 🍧🍓😋

Things to do in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Simon not impressed that we missed the PYO season by three days

Another great place to PYO is Ruby Glen Orchard. It’s close to the city of Napier and has a diverse range of fruits as well as a selection of delicious jams and other product. PS! Again, make sure you go during the season as PYO is clearly not available all year long 😉
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Devour Te Mata Figs

FIGS….ouuuu my…many tasty 😂 such succulent, sweet, divine😇 mouthwatering fruits. If you are feeling our vibe, look no further than to the family owned Te Mata Figs in Havelock North. They are organically certified fig grower and award-winning fig manufacturer that grow around 30 varieties of figs.

Things to do in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand
Te Mata Fig Selection

Beside the fresh figs, they also sell a wide range of fig products and have an onsite Café. Te Mata Figs Café serves delicious breakfast and lunch type dishes that all incorporate figs 😛 We tried their fig pizza and open salmon sandwich and did not disappoint 😋😋 PS! They have fairly small parking lot, and it is almost always full, patience is the key in this situation.
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Sample some delicious Honey

Have you ever felt like the honey that you have just bought isn’t quite what you expected? Well, in Arataki Honey you can sample over 15 different types of honey before you commit to buy. Estralians loved the Rewarewa-type as well as Pohutukawa 🍯🐝 yammmmm 😋

Where to buy honey in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Arataki Honey tasting station

It is also an excellent place to learn or buy all things bee 🐝🐝🐝 The shop is filled with informative and interactive tools, describing the local honey scene. Beside the informative stuff you can even see some buzzing bees from behind a glass! Very cool experience!
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Visit a Winery

Hawke’s Bay’s wine legacy dates back to 1851 when French missionaries established Mission Estate. Nowadays, there are over 200 vineyards and 70+ wineries in Hawke’s Bay. So, it goes without saying that one of the must things to do in Hawke’s Bay is to visit a few wineries. Obviously, we don’t expect you to visit all of them as this would be a very challenging mission, but having a tasting experience in at least couple of wineries should be easy-peasy.

Visiting Hawkes bay vinery's
Clearview Estate in Hawke’s Bay

This time around, Estralians choose to visit two different winery’s, Clearview Estate and Craggy Range. While both produce great wine and have excellent, knowledgeable staff, we feel that Craggy Range gave us a better experience.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay
Craggy Range main entrance

Craggy Range is a family owned winery, situated in the shadow of the spectacular Te Mata Peak. And when we say spectacular, we mean SPECTACULAR 😲.

Must visit winery in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Simon with some goodies at Craggy Range

From the moment we walked in, we knew we are going to love the wine tasting experience. Our Sommelier who took us through the tasting made it feel very personal and even added an extra wine for us to taste. If you have more time to spare, you can also ask for a personal tour of the winery and the vineyard.

Things to do in Hawke's bay
Craggy Range indoor tasting room

Craggy Range also has an onsite restaurant that is a winner of two hats at the 2018 Cuisine Good Food Awards. The restaurant is not opened all day though and if you would like to dine in there you would most likely have to make a booking beforehand 😉

Where to go in Hawke's Bay
Craggy Range Restaurant

And this is not all, the Craggy Range also offers boutique accommodation. They have gorgeous garden cottages and luxury lodges that offer breathtaking views to go with your glass of wine.
PS! For all the Hawke’s Bay wine producers see the list.
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Drive up to Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak stands roughly 400 meters above the sea level and is not only visually appealing but also offers 360-degree views. To reach the summit you can either drive or hike up in multiple direction.

Views over Te Mata Peak in Hawke's Bay
Te Mata Peak from Craggy Range

Once at the summit, you can see panoramic views of the Maungaharuru Ranges, Ruahine, Kaweka, Cape Kidnappers and even Mt Ruapehu on a clear day.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay
Views to the ocean and Craggy Range Winey

In Estralians opinion, Te Mata Peak offers some of the best views in the whole Hawke’s Bay and thus is one of the best activities to do in Hawke’s Bay.

Must things to do in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Views from Te Mata Peak Summit

If you choose to drive up, remember that The Main Gates are closed to vehicles from 10pm to 5.30am every day. The Tauroa Road car park extension is closed between 9pm and 7am daily.
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See a huge gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers, also known as Te Kauwae-a-Māui, is a headland at the south-eastern end of Hawke’s Bay. It is famous for the largest gannet colony in the world that nests at the end of the peninsula. As you can’t drive all way to the colony, many people choose to tackle this adventure by foot from the small seaside settlement of Clifton.

things to do in Hawke's Bay
Cape kidnappers from Clifton Beach

If you don’t have time to do the 17 km return walk, or simply don’t want to then you could also hire a quad bike, catch on a tractor-trailer or organize yourself a Gannet Safari which is authorized to drive almost to the colony. PS! Weather you choose to walk or drive to the colony, make sure to pay attention to tides.

Arriving at the gannet colony you’ll see over 20,000 gannets. From a close distance you could then gaze them diving for fish, feeding their young chicks, and just going on with their day to day lives.

Biggest Gannet colony's of the world
Gannet Colony

Estralians decided to skip this adventure because by the time we had finished our wine tasting experiences, it was already too late. Luckily, we have previously visited a massive gannet colony in Muriwai so we didn’t feel too disappointed.
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Enjoy some sun at Ocean Beach

If you are looking for a sandy beach in the area of Hawke’s Bay, then only 40 minutes from Napier, past the Cape Kidnappers is the beautiful Ocean Beach. In this somewhat remote location, you’ll will find 10 km long stretch of golden sand beach.

Ocean Beach

PS! Although, quite remote, Ocean beach actually offers safe swimming in the summer with Lifeguards on duty.
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Capture the longest place name

Not many people know that New Zealand has the longest place name in the world. The place is called Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu and it is located on Route 52, near Porangahau in southern Hawke’s Bay. It is a Maori word for a 305 m high hill where an ancient chief, warrior and explorer played his Kōauau to mourn his brother.

Things to do in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
The Longest Place Name In The World

Estralians drove past this place back in 2014 when we were doing a road-trip from Christchurch to Auckland.
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Never stop #exploring. Nobody owns the world so #feelfree to #explore it 🌞🎈

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