When it comes to holiday destinations, New Zealand really packs a punch considering it's such a small country which is surrounded by active and dormant volcano's, wild rivers, glaciers and thermal springs. Be it the North or South Island, New Zealand makes a great holiday destination. If you haven't already read my previous article Reasons To Visit Wellington, then check it out also.
With so many areas to explore, the New Zealand series of travel articles drills down into specific areas providing readers with an up close look at what there is to see and do in the region. Today we take a look at the world renowned wine producing region of Hawke's Bay.
Hawke's Bay/Napier Region, North Island, New Zealand
Hawkes Bay takes in the regions or Napier, Hastings, Central and Wairoa and is located on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. Hawke's Bay produces some of the finest wines in New Zealand and each year the industry celebrates with the Harvest Hawke's Bay Festival when a three-day wine and food festival is held attracting many thousands of local and international visitors.
Getting to Hawke’s Bay from Wellington's International Airport takes approximately 4 hours by road, providing visitors with a a great opportunity to take in some of the regions beautiful scenery along the way.
Surf's up at Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
However if you don’t have time or the inclination and prefer to travel by air, Air New Zealand offers a number of domestic flights from Wellington to the Hawke's Bay Airport which is situated north of the main downtown area. The Hawke’s Bay Airport is just a 10 minute drive from the main town of Napier.
Average Temperature Ranges:
Hawke's Bay is known for its mild Mediterranean climate, hot summers and mild winters providing ideal conditions for producing great wine and food, and making anytime of the year a great time to visit.
Typically summer temperatures range from 20°C/68°F to 30°C/86°F maximum daytime temperatures. In winter temperatures fall between 10°C/50°F to 15°C/59°F. The hottest months in Hawkes Bay are December, January and February.
You don't have to be a wine lover to enjoy all there is to offer in and around Hawke's Bay, so let's take a look at some of the great things to see and do on a visit to the region.
Hawke’s Bay is well known for its robust Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlots and there are over 100 vineyards together with 80 wineries in the region alone, which forms part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail covering more than 80% of New Zealand's wine production regions.
While the main focus of the wine trails focus is on wine and food, the route also offers up all types of adventures and cultural experiences. Discover historic villages, visit artist studios, meet with specialist food producers and enjoy live theater.
New Zealand food goes far beyond fish and chips and barbeques these days, the Pacific Rim cuisine culture is alive and thriving. It includes the freshest of seafood such as crayfish, oysters and the famous green lip mussels. Of course in the country where the sheep outnumber the humans, you can expect to find a vast array of dishes featuring lamb. But one thing the eateries in and around Hawke's Bay have in common is the laid back, convivial atmosphere no matter where you choose to dine.
Farm gates too feature heavily throughout the region, from gate to plate these places provide the local restaurant scene with the freshest in season ingredients. Websites including pickyourown give details a list of orchards and farms. Alternatively you can visit the NZ Fruit and Foodshare map on Google maps when planning a visit.
3. Art Deco Architecture
Napier is known as the Art Deco Capital of the world. When a massive earthquake hit the region on the morning of February 3rd, 1931 fires ravaged through the commercial heart of the city. Since that time the city was rebuilt in the style of that era, and by the end of the decade Napier was the newest city on the globe.
Masonic Hotel, Napier
The Art Deco Trust website offers up a wealth of infomration for visitors to participate in a range of vintage car tours and guided city walks highlighting many of the town's most attractive buildings. The trust has its own gift shop offering a superb collection of Art Deco inspired homewares and stationary and everything in between. From boater hats, Art Deco lamps, gifts for children, men and women, there's something for everyone.
The combination of great weather conditions, bicycle friendly terrain matched with stunning scenery and a well established food and wine experiences make Hawke’s Bay an ideal cycling destination.
The Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trails are flat for the most part, which is made up of a river and coastal network of pathways which stretch over the Heretaunga Plains. There are three different cycling experiences to enjoy including: The Water Ride, The Landscape Ride and The Wineries Ride.
The area of Cape Kidnappers is just as significant as it is spectacular. The bay has strong links with Maori folklore and the cape itself was named by Captain James Cook in 1769 after locals attempted to kidnap his ship’s young Tahitian guide.
Source/Credit: The Farm Cape Kidnappers
The area boasts a golf course, farm accommodation and a sandstone headland, east of Hawke's Bay. The area is home to the largest most accessible gannet colony in the world today. The reserve comprises a 3 hectare area and includes the Saddle and Black Reef gannet colonies. The reserve is closed to public access however the Black Reef colony can be viewed from the beach.
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers provides accommodation set atop 6,000 acres of pasture land affording guests uninterrupted 180 degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Bookings can me made on their website or by visiting booking.com
As their slogan goes 'There's nothing fresher or finer than a barrow load of food from The Hawke's Bay Farmers' Markets!' one of New Zealand’s largest and longest running Farmers’ Markets offering a complete shopping experience, every Sunday of the year.
Fresh produce at Hawke's Bay Farmers Market
Thousands of locals and bus loads of visitors alike soak up the friendly, relaxed atmosphere of a traditional market. Meet the grower, producer or maker and speak with them directly about their products. See, touch, smell and taste the fresh local produce knowing that they are harvested fresh from the source.
There's one dining experience in particular that visitors to the area should put on their 'must do' list, and that is to enjoy a fabulous lunch or dinner at Elephant Hill restaurant. Stylish, warm and inviting, Elephant Hill is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy delicious food and stunning wines while taking in the breathtaking views over the Pacific Ocean and vineyard.
Source/Credit: Elephant Hill
Elephant Hill is set amongst the vines on the Te Awanga coast with incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the Kidnapper Cliffs. It is a wonderful place to unwind and enjoy fine dining and premium wine sourced from the region.
Source/Credit: Elephant Hill
There is a great range of accommodation options in and around Hawke's Bay and Napier, so check out booking.com to secure the best rates around.