Heading to the Hawke’s Bay? World-class food and wine, spectacular architecture, and breathtaking landscape awaits you. Check out our list of must do's below!
1. National Aquarium of New Zealand
The National Aquarium of New Zealand is found on Marine Parade along the Napier waterfront. The National Aquarium has over 1500 animals including sharks, fish, penguins, Tuatara (native New Zealand reptile), and even alligators! The Aquarium is a family and budget-friendly attraction, and there's even a cafe for a spot of lunch.
The Fairy Penguin (Blue Penguin) at the National Aquarium
2. World-class Wineries
Head to one of the world-class wineries Hawkes Bay has to offer. The pairing of a stunning setting and a fantastic wine makes for a great day. Havelock North has plenty to offer including Te Mata Estate, Black Barn Vineyards, and Craggy Range who were recently awarded 11th best winery in the world at the 2019 Wine Tourism Awards. Just around the corner on Clifton Road, you can find Elephant Hill and Clearview Estate Winery. The list goes on, so be sure to check out the wine country when you're there!
Craggy Range Vineyards Havelock North Image credit: Craggy Range
3. Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui Gannet Reserve
Marvel at the world’s largest mainland gannet colony on the rugged peninsula of Cape Kidnappers Reserve. An estimated 6500 pairs can be found out at the Cape. The colony is around 25mins drive from Hastings followed by a 5 hour return walk out to the Cape. Be sure to check The Department of Conservation for track closures or maintenance.
If you're a golf enthusiast, check out the Golf Digest World no.22 ranked golf course Cape Kidnappers.
Cape Kidnappers/Te Kauwae-a-Māui Gannet Reserve
4. Hastings Farmers Market
Celebrate the lush and fertile lands of the region by indulging in some of the freshest produce and finest delicacies at the Hasting’s Farmers Market. It is held every Sunday at the Hawke’s Bay Showgrounds, 8.30 - 12.30.
Saturday morning at the Hawkes Bay Farmers Market, Image credit: Hawkes Bay Farmers Market
5. Pekapeka Wetlands
Wander along the winding boardwalks at the Peka Peka Wetlands, just 12km drive south of Hastings. The regional council began to restore the wetlands in the 1990s by removing willows and creating a perimeter around the 98ha site. The area is home to 82 plant species and numerous native birds, including the rare Australasian Bittern. Be sure not to litter and respect the land as it has wāhi tapu (sacred site) status.
6. MTG Hawke's Bay
Home to the region’s taonga and other treasures, MTG is a hybrid Museum-Theatre-Gallery and a must for all culture vultures. MTG has a range of events and exhibitions to take part in, including an in-depth look at the devastating 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake. There's a great opportunity to buy New Zealand-designed gifts, cards, books, art, and jewellery at the gift store.
Open 7 days, 9:30am - 5:00pm. Find out more.
MTG Hawke's Bay, Image Credit: Hawke's Bay Tourism
7. Pania of the Reef Statue
Say hello to Pania, the beautiful sea maiden and daughter of Tangaroa, God of the Ocean, who fell in love with a Māori chief. You can find her statue on Marine Parade in Napier, and learn her full story.
Pania of the Reef Statue, Napier
8. Climb Te Mata Peak
Te Mata Peak is just 20 minutes drive from Hastings city centre. The 399m high peak offers the opportunity to see spectacular views of the Hawke's Bay from every angle, especially at sunrise! There are a range of walking tracks to the peak, but if you aren't up for a big walk, you can drive most of the way.
Te Mata Peak at sunrise