The Hawkes Bay region's largest city is the beautiful oceanfront city of Napier (population around 60,000), which has one of the world's most significant collections of art deco architecture.
The Hawkes Bay region suffered a massive earthquake in 1931 that destroyed the twin cities of Napier and Hastings. Entirely rebuilt over a two year period in the distinctive 1930s style, Napier has one of the highest concentrations of Art Deco architecture in the world and a colourful heritage story to tell.
The area was at the origin of New Zealand's wine industry, and is now
the second largest wine producing region in New Zealand (after the
). With more than 30 award-winning vineyards, the region has achieved world-wide recognition for its quality red wine.
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* How to get here
* A great wine tour to check out
* Some history of the region
* More about food and wine in Hawke's Bay
* Helpful maps
* Search for that perfect accommodation
* Art and culture in the region
* More things to see and do
* Some facts about the region
Napier is around four hours drive north east from Wellington.
From Auckland, it's around five hours drive south east to Napier.
Please refer to our State Highways map.
You can fly to Hawke's Bay Airport from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, and at the time of writing, Blenheim.
You can learn more at the airport website by clicking here.
How about a highly rated wine tour?
Okay, you know that Hawke's Bay is famous for it's wines.
Well no visit to the region would be complete without a winery tour.
So here's one that our visitors love:
Kick back on this afternoon wine tour from Napier
If you are looking for something to fill in an afternoon, this is the perfect solution.
Visiting four local wineries, this guided tour includes pick up and return to your Napier hotel.
Starting around 1 pm, your guide collects you from your hotel, then transports you to your first winery in an air conditioned vehicle, keen with anticipation for what awaits.
And what awaits are samples of four delicious local wines!
Over the afternoon you will visit three more local wineries, sample lots of their very special wines, and even learn about the art of modern wine making.
And to finish the day, what could be better than a trip up to a panoramic platform, two hundred meters above sea level, for cheese, biscuits and wine, all with the backdrop of stunning views of Hawke's Bay.
Read what other visitors had to say about this great tour by clicking on the button below:
The Hawke's Bay region is home to several Maori tribes (iwi). The Ngati Hineuru, Rangitane, Ngati Kahungunu, Whatuiapiti, Ngati Kere, and Taiwhenua o Tamatea people can all be found in Heretaunga (as the region is known to Maori)
Maori people were attracted to the area by its fertile valleys and coastline, where food was abundant.
Maori legend has it that the Te Mata Peak and the hills that stretch south to Kahuranaki are actually the body of an ancient Maori chief named Te Mata o Rongokako. Supposedly a giant, he fell in love with the daughter of another chief, and was asked to perform a series of tasks in exchange for her hand. He completed all but one of these tasks. His final challenge was to eat through a hill, however he choked to death on a rock and now rests where he fell!
Food and wine in the Hawkes Bay region
As one of New Zealand's premier food and wine regions, Hawke's Bay is a food lovers paradise. Award winning wines, amazing fresh produce from the land and ocean, and a wide range of quality dining establishments ensure a wonderful experience.
Within Hawke's Bay are various sub regions, each famous for its own
particular blend of wine. While there you might like to visit the
Triangle, Gimblett Road, Ngatarawa, Te Mata, Maraekakaho or Esk River.
Guided tours are freely available (and recommended rather than driving
yourself) and are a great way to sample the best wines of the region.
More than half of the region's 70 plus vineyards offer cellar door experiences, giving you a huge choice of where to eat and drink. With everything from traditional architecture to modern establishments, you are spoilt for choice. An interesting tour option is a cycle tour of several wineries.
The flat landscape and warm climate make this an enticing option for those of
you wanting to see the region in an environmentally friendly way.
Although best known for its merlot and cabernet sauvignon, Hawkes Bay is also receiving increasing recognition for its white varieties such as chardonnay.
Local establishments make a point of featuring their local produce, and the local farmers markets are a great way to sample regional delicacies. The markets are held in Napier on Saturdays and on Sundays in Hastings. Take your time to browse the many stalls and pick up a delicious bargain.
Accommodation (with a little luxury) in the Hawkes Bay region
Want to search for accommodation? Through our partnership with Booking.com we can give you access to a huge range of accommodation options.
And you can read customer reviews so that you can make an informed choice before booking.
* To search through all Hawke's Bay accommodation just click here.
* To look for accommodation in Napier, click here.
* To search for accommodation in Hastings, click here.
Looking for something special?
When you combine fine food and wine with a sunny climate, you have the perfect setting for a luxury getaway.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is a multi award winning luxury lodge, encompassing a stunning world class golf course, all set on a working, 6,000 acre sheep and cattle farm. Cape Kidnappers was voted 'world's best' by readers of the United Kingdom's Daily Telegraph in 2008 (scroll down the page to view a video about Cape Kidnappers).
And if you would like to stay "on vineyard", several wineries offer
boutique lodgings in the vines. The region also has a growing range of
luxury cottages and lodges for rent.
For a special treat, how about an early start for a hot air balloon
flight over the region. Time stands still as you drift serenely over
fields, vineyards, and rivers, and your view is framed by the
surrounding mountains and ocean.
For something a little more thrilling, take a helicopter flight to a winery for lunch and a wine tasting, or fly to a remote location for a spot of rafting or trout fishing.
Art and culture in the Hawkes Bay region
Napier is known as the Art Deco capital of the southern hemisphere, and only Miami in the United States has more Art Deco architecture.
As mentioned, Napier was rebuilt following the 1931 earthquake. As this was at the peak of the Art Deco period, locals decided to concentrate on that style, resulting in the unique collection of buildings for which the city is now famous worldwide.
The Art Deco theme is celebrated in February each year when
thousands of people come to Napier for the Art Deco Weekend, a
wonderful, bustling celebration of all things Art Deco.
if you can't make it to Napier in February, don't fear. Daily Art Deco
walking tours of the city centre showcase the best of local architecture
and give a wonderful summary of Napier's history. You can even see the
sights on a vintage car tour.
Hawkes Bay is also well
known for its strong artistic community, and is home to many recognised
artists, who are always happy to welcome you into their studios and
Hawke's Bay Museum, on Marine Parade Napier, has an excellent display on the earthquake and the art deco style, together with displays detailing the region's Maori heritage.
Other things to do in the Hawkes Bay region
You can check out a full range of Hawke's Bay tours by clicking here.
But there's lots more to see and do here.
Here are a few suggestions:
* Visit New Zealand National Aquarium on Marine Parade in Napier. See a huge range of local marine life and stroll through the 50 metre long viewing tunnel as sharks and fish swim all around.
* Take the kids to Splash Planet water theme park. Lots of slides and rides and a great way to fill in a day.
* Take a guided deep sea or trout fishing trip.
* Ride the rapids on a white water rafting adventure.
* Visit the world's largest mainland Gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers.
* Relax in a soothing hot spa as you gaze over the ocean at Ocean Spa Napier.
* The British Car Museum at Haumoana has over 300 cars of British origin, together with a collection of auto related memorabilia.
Some interesting facts about the Hawkes Bay region
Hawkes Bay region has the world's second longest place name:
* Napier has one of the world's highest concentrations of Art Deco architecture.
* Napier is home to one of only two McDeco McDonald's in the world.
* Dinosaur remains discovered in Hawkes Bay in 1975 proved that land dinosaurs had lived in New Zealand.