Hawkes Bay Trails Bike Tours in New Zealand
The Hawke’s Bay Wine Trails are best explored on bicycle; after all, New Zealand has an established Nga Haerenga or New Zealand Cycle Trail. The Hawke’s Bay region alone has 200 kilometres of this trail that bring outdoor and wine enthusiasts to some of the best vineyards in northeast New Zealand, not to mention some of the most inspiring landscapes sculpted by the Pacific Ocean and wetlands and breeding grounds rich in birdlife.
There are three such trails in the Hawke’s Bay region: the Landscape Ride, the Water Ride and the Wineries Ride; which all make up the Hawkes Bay Trails. This cycle trail winds around New Zealand’s Art Deco capital Napier, and the country’s ‘fruit bowl,’ Hastings, about 20 kilometres inland from the coast.
What makes cycling the Hawke’s Bay Wine Trails easy is its mostly flat terrain: A network of river and coastal pathways spreads across Heretaunga Plains, and affords even beginner cyclists an opportunity to glimpse rural New Zealand, sneak up on marshland wildlife, take in panoramic ocean views, sip world-class wines, or enjoy a little of everything.
To help you decide which cycle trail suits your sightseeing plans, here is a rough guide of what to expect from each loop.
The Landscape Ride
If infinite ocean views, bird-watching and a round of golf are what you came for, with mountain peaks and fresh sea food thrown in, then pedal your way along the coastal communities of Haumoana, Te Awanga and Clifton. From here, you can glimpse the peak of Te Mata, or take delight in a colony of gannets at Cape Kidnappers where the birds make up a mainland breeding ground considered the largest in the world.
The Water Ride.
The Pacific Ocean reveals a lot of itself in this loop. There is also the option to take the 8-kilometer section of the Hawke’s Bay Trails which passes through the Ahuriri Estuary. This family-friendly cycle trail is within short distance of lookout points to view migratory golden plovers, knots, bar-tailed godwits, oystercatchers, royal spoonbills, and 70 other species of native and visiting water birds from as far as the Arctic.
The Wineries Ride.
Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region. Some of the most sought after full-bodied red wines are grown in Bridge Pa, Gimblett Gravels and the Ngatarawa Triangle. What better way to cover more ground and sample Merlot, Chardonnay, Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon at 75 cellar doors in an unhurried pace? There are also plenty of quaint cottages along the trail to take shelter in and rest for a while as you plot your next destination.
With these in mind, you can decide which route is most compatible with your level of physical stamina and planned outdoor activities. If you are looking for an easy ride with a little bit of wine, wildlife and coastlines, three days should suffice. More physically prepared cyclists with five days set aside may opt to go as far south as rural Waipawa and see more of the region for a truly memorable Hawke’s Bay experience.