Top 10 things to do in Hawke's Bay

Explore wineries, sample locally-produced fare and marvel at the Art Deco architecture. Check out these top 10 things to do in Hawke's Bay.

1. Discover the many wineries and cellar doors

Often likened to Bordeaux in France, Hawke's Bay is famed for its full-bodied red wines. Hire a bike and taste your way around some of the region's 72 vineyards and 30 cellar doors, including the award-winning Te Mata Estate Winery(opens in new window) and Craggy Range(opens in new window). Stop for lunch at Church Road Winery(opens in new window) or Mission Estate(opens in new window), New Zealand's oldest winery.

Discover wineries

2. Explore Art Deco architecture

When a devastating earthquake destroyed Napier in 1931, the city was rebuilt in the style of the times - Art Deco. Relive the opulent era of jazz, boaters and beads at the annual Art Deco Festival(opens in new window) or take a guided tour(opens in new window) of the spectacular architecture in a vintage car.

3. Cycle your way around the region

Hawke's Bay Trails combine more than 200 kilometres of tracks that are helpfully split into themes. Choose from the established wineries, landscapes or water trails or forge your own path. You can visit all of Hawke's Bay's attractions by bike - cycle by the seaside, venture to the vineyards or explore the countryside. With flat, easy trails for all levels, it's the best way to experience the stunning region.

4. Get up close to gannets at Cape Kidnappers

Sweeping views, dramatic cliffs, and Australasia's largest mainland gannet colony - a visit to the impressive sandstone headland and home to over 20,000 gannets with Gannet Safaris Overland tours(opens in new window) is not to be missed. The tour takes you along the cliff tops on Cape Kidnappers Station land, enjoy views of the Cape Kidnappers walking track below as you head out to the gannets. The walking track is accessible along the beach and only during low tide.

Note: It's also important to note that this area is prone to unpredictable landslides, so be sure to proceed with caution if you are planning on attempting this walk.

5. Hike or bike up Te Mata Peak

Admire the incredible 360-degree views of Hawke's Bay from the summit of Te Mata Peak. Walk through the majestic hundred-year-old giant redwoods and discover the deep cultural relevance of this special place. You can also bike or drive to the top and marvel at the views and the hang gliders soaring high above the majestic Heretaunga Plains.

6. Attend the Food and Wine Classic event

Hawke's Bay Food and Wine Classic(opens in new window) (F.A.W.C) is a highlight in the Hawke's Bay calendar. Taking place twice a year, restaurants, cafes and pop-up venues get in on the action, promising delicious food, award-winning wine and great entertainment.

7. Treat yourself to a boutique accommodation

Luxury rural retreats and boutique urban hotels are a regional specialty, offering premium accommodation and relaxation experiences. Get cosy by the fire at Craggy Range Lodge(opens in new window) or take in the rural views as you relax from your room at one of the properties of Black Barn Retreats(opens in new window).

8. Tee off at Cape Kidnappers golf course

Consistently rated among the world's best international courses, this 18-hole course plays high above the ocean, perched on dramatic cliffs.

9. Immerse yourself in Māori cultural experiences

There are a couple of cultural sites where you can learn a lot about Hawke's Bay's Māori heritage. Visit Pania of the Reef(opens in new window) to learn about love, sacrifice and the connection between humans and the sea in Māori culture. At the Waitangi Regional Park, join the tour organised by Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust to learn about the significance of the Ātea a Rangi Star Compass(opens in new window)--a celestial navigation training tool rooted in Māori heritage. 

10. Taste artisan fare

Visit a local farmers' market(opens in new window) and stroll among the stalls of fresh fruit, vegetables, artisan bread, cheese and meats, before finding a shady spot to picnic. You'll also find seasonal produce for sale by the roadside, often just with an honesty box for payment.

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