The Hawke's Bay Trails stretch over the Heretaunga Plains and weave between the twin cities of Napier and Hastings.
Stretching from Bay View in the north to Cape Kidnappers in the South, with Napier, Hastings and Havelock North in between, this trail network follows a mix of dedicated cycle paths and quiet country roads. With almost endless route options from easy to ambitious, it’s a great way to reach many Hawke’s Bay attractions while soaking up the scenery.
This extensive trail network loops widely across the bucolic Heretaunga Plains and along the coast. Helpfully divided into themed quadrants – Water, Landscape, Wineries, the trails can also be linked-up and short-cut using the quiet, country roads that crisscross the plains. There is also an extensive urban cycle trail network in the main cities of Napier and Hastings, called iWay that link to the trails. The excellent, colour-coded trail map makes it easy to plan the perfect sightseeing tour.
Offering a taste of the pretty countryside the region is famous for, the Puketapu Loop is a half-day ride up and down the banks of the Tutaekuri River, with the cycle-friendly Puketapu pub offering refreshment at the halfway point. Enthusiastic riders can extend this ride by starting in art deco Napier, and finishing with a pedal along tree-lined Marine Parade.
More seaside scenery can be appreciated on the coastal trail from Clive to Clifton, another half-day return ride featuring wetlands and views of dramatic Cape Kidnappers. This super-easy section also passes two significant wineries – slick Elephant Hill and rustic Clearview – both brilliant for a leisurely lunch or tasting.
The 14 or so vineyards around Bridge Pa and Gimblett Gravels can be explored on the wineries trail, near Hastings. As well as cellar door tastings and some excellent dining, this ride features peaceful stretches of riverbank and an oak-lined avenue.
Most of the trail is wide, smooth and flat, making it grade 1–2 (easiest to easy) and therefore suitable for beginners upwards. A hybrid bike with knobbly tyres will be comfortable enough for most terrain.
Although the trail is well signposted and meets many roads and settlements, riders should carry a map, water and snacks, a basic tool kit and cellphone. There are toilets dotted at convenient points.
The region is blessed with balmy summers and bright, mild winters, making for great riding at any time of year although riders should always check the forecast and take appropriate clothing for the conditions.
Visitors can hire bikes from numerous cycle hire and tour operators, in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North and even right on the trail in places.
Self-guided tours from half-day to multi-day, inclusive of bike hire, shuttles and accommodation, are offered by Bike About Tours and Takaro Trails. To find out more about boke hire and tours, see the Hawke’s Bay Trails website.
The trails pass through the twin cities of Napier and Hastings, both popular visitor hubs with a broad range of accommodation. The surrounding countryside also boasts some atmospheric options, ranging from seaside campgrounds and charming cottages, to upmarket B&Bs and luxury lodges.