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Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Hawke's Bay in New Zealand is synonymous with wine country. Hawkes Bay is the leading producer of red wines in New Zealand, and is renowned for its gourmet food. The main city of Napier is famous for its Art Deco architecture. Spectacular beaches, stretch all along this coastline. Visit Hawkes Bay in spring, and the orchards are covered in blossom, and flowers are coming out in blossom; whilst at Cape Kidnappers, the gannets are returning to hatch their chicks. Fine wine and fabulous food.

Wine and food in Hawkes Bay

Hawke's Bay has New Zealand's oldest winery, with the areas sunny climate attracting wine growers very early on. Many of New Zealand's best red wines are now produced here, with many of the wineries open for wine tasting. You can take a self guided tour, hire a mountain bike and cycle between vineyards on the Hawkes Bay Cycle Trail. Many wineries also include a restaurant or café, where you can sample the wine with a meal.

At Hastings, the Farmers Market is well worth a visit, to see the local organic food and produce. Whilst in Hawkes Bay New Zealand there are also specialist olive growing, honey, cheese, chocolate or orchard tours you can take. Try your hand at honing your skills on a cookery course, utilizing some of the great fresh, local produce.

Hawkes Bay History

The history of Hawke's Bay revolves around the massive 1931 earthquake, and the destruction of Napier and Hastings. After the earthquake Napier was rebuilt, resulting in the present day Art Deco architecture. Napier today has one of the world's highest concentrations of art deco architecture. You can take a self guided walk, or an escorted tour. Well worth a visit is the Hawkes Bay Museum, where you can learn all about the earthquake. A few kilometers away in Hastings, the buildings have a Spanish Mission flavor, with some Art Deco and Stripped Classical architecture. Here you can search for a souvenir in the antique shops and galleries, visit one of the old historic homesteads, with their award-winning gardens.

Maori Heritage in Hawkes Bay

The whole Hawke's Bay region is full of Maori history, from Te Urewera National Park to Te Mata Peak. You can take a tour to learn about the customs, beliefs, traditions and dance of the Maori People, including a visit to a local marae. Join an experienced tour guide who will bring to life the traditions and beliefs of the Maori through words, people and places. Hawkes Bay has many studios and art galleries that exhibit Maori art. In June each year, Maori New Year (Matariki) is celebrated in Hawkes Bay.

Hawkes Bay Wildlife

Cape Kidnappers is home to the largest mainland Gannet colony in the world with about 17,000 birds in four colonies. Take a tractor driven tour to the colony, nesting takes place August to May (the reserve is closed to the public June to October).  Napier's Marine Land includes a wildlife rehabilitation programme, which includes everything from baby Little Blue Penguins to whales!  At Te Angiangi Marine Reserve you can take a walk, a rich feeding area for birds at low tide; alternatively go snorkeling or diving to view the marine life.

Adventure in Hawkes Bay

For the outdoor enthusiast Hawke's Bay offers many opportunities. You could get up early and take a romantic hot air balloon flight over the Bay; or try tandem paragliding from Te Mata Peak. You could try fishing on a charter boat in the ocean, or trout fishing on the banks of a river. With many rivers, beaches, and reefs, you could go swimming, diving, or kayaking. There are many opportunities for hiking, or walking the national parks, mountains or gorges of Hawkes Bay; or horse trekking on a farm or along a beach. For the golfers, try a game of golf at Cape Kidnappers, the region's premier golf course.