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Hawkes Bay | The best things to see and do 👀 👍

Mention the Hawkes Bay to Kiwi's and they will think of wine, sunshine and great food. But this region also features gorgeous Art Deco architecture, easy riding cycle trails, and popular Te Mata Peak with its 360 degree views over the region. To give you a taste of what to expect from your visit to Hawkes Bay, here's an overview of great itinerary ideas I've collated for you.


An eclectic mix of visual and sensual experiences the Hawke's Bay is blessed with a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate. Travel to one of New Zealand's warmest and driest regions.

Highlights can include:

  • hear the story of the earthquake that devastated the original town and discover the Art Deco era of style and optimism in which the present day Napier was built on an Art Deco Trust Guided Walk

  • step back in time to see the amazing Art Deco architecture and heritage​​ in a 1930's vintage car

  • at Lake Tutira take a short walk along the edge of the freshwater lake or a longer loop through the reserve

  • Splash Planet is New Zealand’s only water theme park and is a beloved Hawke's Bay destination open in Summer where families make lifetime memories on water rides and attractions 👪

  • take a short, easy walk through Otatara Pa, one of the largest and most ancient Maori pa sites, offering commanding views of the coastline

  • soak up the scenery on a horse trek and experience beach, river and winery rides on well-mannered, well-trained horses 🐴

  • stroll along Napier’s Marine Parade and soak in the atmosphere along this seaside path featuring the Sunken Gardens and the Pania of the Reef statue among other activities

  • from September through April each year at low tide you can visit the worlds largest & most accessible gannet colony at spectacular Cape Kidnappers - a favourite for families, geologists and bird enthusiasts

  • complete a round atCape Kidnappers Golf Course hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf designed by golf architect Tom Doak 🏌️

  • Join a Wine Tour and discover New Zealand's oldest wine region known for its red wines - cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah - but also has some stunning whites 🍷

  • Maraetotara Falls is a hugely popular Summer spot for locals and visitors alike set amid the native bush just 10 minutes from the road

  • the stunning Mohaka River gorge offers an unparalleled North Island day trip white water rafting experience

  • Birdwoods Gallery & Sweet Shop is a special place set in the countryside near Havelock North, offering a gallery, sculpture garden, cafe and old fashioned sweet shop 🍭

  • at the National Aquarium of New Zealand you'll discover a diverse range of aquatic animals and wildlife, both native species and from around the world 🐟

  • relatively undeveloped Ocean Beach is popular with surfers and families alike 🐚

  • tour by bike and take advantage of the 200km of off-road cycle trails weaving between world acclaimed wineries, stunning scenery and fabulous food options 🚴

  • Te Mata Peak rises 399 metres above sea level, offers 360° views over the Hawke's Bay and is easily accessible along a sealed road that leads to the popular lookout at the summit, as well as several trails for hikers and mountain bikers ⛰️

Te Mata Peak at sunset. Credit: Kirsten Simcox
  • get a photo with the world's longest place name that belongs to a hill in the Hawke's Bay, and have fun trying to pronounce it- Taumatawhakatangi­hangakoauauotamatea­turipukakapikimaunga­horonukupokaiwhen­uakitanatahu

  • wander past castle-like limestone formations and into deep forest before emerging at the base of the stunning Shine Falls – the highest waterfall in Hawke's Bay. Why not pack a picnic lunch and look for eels living in the stream at the base of the falls

  • celebrate the honey bee and the joy of honey in a modern interactive environment at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre which also showcases a great retail area 🍯🐝

  • all aboard the Hawke's Bay Express, a modern road train which is custom designed and splendidly crafted like an old-fashioned steam engine touring Napier each summer season

  • take an exhilarating tour onboard a V8 Chevrolet Super Trike and enjoy the smiles and waves from envious onlookers as you tour around the region

HAWKES BAY AT A GLANCE 🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended 📅 visit any time of year

📍 5.5 out of 10 visitors include Hawkes Bay in their New Zealand itinerary

🌦️ there is a chance of rain 2.5 days each week on average each year

👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Family fun scores well here with plenty to keep children entertained 🍽️ Food + Wine experiences in this region were sometimes mentioned as a highlight 🏳️‍🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍

This part of New Zealand is home to:

Largest cities: Napier and Hastings

Other popular places: Havelock North, Waipukurau, Waipawa, Cape Kidnappers, Clive, Te Awanga, Porangahau, Waipatiki Beach, Waimarama, Haumoana, Lake Tutira and more...

Accessible by:

🚗 self-drive on a road trip

✈️ board a plane to land at Hawkes Bay Airport (NPE) located just north of Napier

🚌 take a bus from Rotorua, Gisborne, Manawatu or Wellington City

Be adventurous. Be spontaneous. Embrace the unknown.

Let us plan your getaway. The catch?

Your destination is a surprise.

Book A Surprise Kiwi Adventure today and you might just end up in Hawkes Bay - it's Time 2 Go!


Explore Aotearoa New Zealand

Great Kiwi Trips provide the best of each region in bite-sized travel packages

Combine several trips together to create the ultimate experience!

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