Exploring the New Zealand Region of Hawke’s Bay

Something I’ve discovered in my many journeys around New Zealand is the region of Hawke’s Bay.

It is located on the east side of the north island and is famous for its wine, scenery, beaches as well as its artistic and historical towns.

Here are some tips for people wanting to explore this lovely region.


Sample the Wine

This is one of the oldest wine regions of New Zealand and they’ve used these many years to perfect their wine making techniques.

I’ve visited Hawke’s Bay a number of times and I always set aside a half day for me and whoever is travelling with me at the time to visit various wineries.

It’s quite a lot of fun actually, getting to each winery and tasting their particular variety of wine.

Some of these offer the tasting for free (as long as you buy their wine) but some will actually charge you. But even for the ones that charge you, I still think it is a fair deal as you get to try a number of their wines, some of them from the more expensive bottles. I tend to stay at each winery for at least 15 minutes.

If you do the same, make sure you buy at least one bottle of Chardonnay as they are famous for it.

Cycle around the Scenery

The scenery around this region is beautiful with many rolling lush green and fertile hills. You can get around most of the region by a car but I enjoy picking a small part of Hawke’s Bay and riding a bicycle for the day.

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This lets me get out and enjoy the countryside. The roads are mostly great for cycling, well-sealed and not too steep, compared to many in New Zealand anyway!

If you’re thinking about cycling there for the first time, I would try the areas around Havelock North and stop in Havelock for lunch as it is a fabulous small town with historical buildings and lots of lovely cafés to choose from.


Relax at the Beaches

You have a huge range of beaches to choose from in this region, most of them with long stretches of golden sand.

My favorite is ‘Cape Kidnappers’ beach.  It’s really beautiful with an outstanding rugged coast.

There is also a famous golf course there for people who like that game but I think you need to book well in advance.

Visit the Artistic and Historical Towns

Another thing this region is very famous for is the art deco and historical towns and cities.

The two that stands out for me were Napier and Havelock North.

Napier is a large city on the coast (well, large by New Zealand standards anyway) with a huge number of art deco buildings. It also has some nice beaches, swimming pools and lots of bars and restaurants.

But my personal favorite was the small town of Havelock North. It almost feels like a small village from a 100 years ago but very well cared for indeed.

Make sure you have a coffee and cake in one of the many cafés in this town.