Hawkes Bay

World-class wines, delicious food, stunning architecture, a little more wine, a little more food - and there you have a typical day in Hawke’s Bay. Taste buds are spoilt in New Zealand’s oldest and second largest wine region, where the dry, sunny climate makes for ideal winegrowing conditions. The devastating Hawke’s Bay earthquake of 1931 meant that much of both Hastings and Napier had to be rebuilt. As a result, fine examples of Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture can now be found throughout both cities, contributing to the unique charm that sets the Hawke’s Bay region apart from other areas of New Zealand. Hawke’s Bay is also home to the world’s longest place name. It’s a whopping 85 letters long and is shortened by locals to ‘Taumata’. Drive south from Hastings for a bit over an hour to spot the sign for yourself.

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Book Flights to Hawkes Bay Book now
Currency New Zealand Dollar
Time Zone UTC+12
Area 14,111 km²
Population 160,100
Holiday Packages to Hawkes Bay Book now
Languages English
Dining

Conquering the Hawke’s Bay dining scene is a near impossible feat, with so many fantastic restaurants not just in Hastings and Napier but also in other smaller towns like Te Awanga and Waipawa. Not surprisingly, many of the region’s best restaurants are attached to wineries. The pick of these are Terroir Restaurant at Craggy Range Vineyard (Hastings), Elephant Hill Estate (Te Awanga) and Mission Estate (Napier). Those who prefer to work up a hunger browsing a few different menus should pay a visit to Ahuriri, a northern district of Napier with numerous waterfront cafes and restaurants. Arrive early and explore the district’s charming galleries, antique shops and boutique stores before your meal. A local favourite for both dinner and drinks is the ever-buzzing Thirsty Whale, overlooking the Ahuriri marina. The suburb of Havelock North in Hastings is another culinary gold mine, accommodating several of the city’s top restaurants. Pipi's, The Post, Black Barn Bistro and Deliciosa are the pick of the bunch here. In central Hastings, a high concentration of restaurants, both casual and formal, can be found on and around the pedestrian-only strip of Heretaunga Street.

Shopping

It’s a fairly safe assumption that the number one thing on most people’s shopping lists while in Hawke’s Bay is wine. The best way to stock up is without a doubt a wine tour of the region - a service offered by numerous operators. Whether on a bicycle or in a bus, a tour is the best (and most enjoyable) way to sample a broad range of wines from several different winemakers in an easy, convenient and indeed picturesque fashion. Being one of New Zealand’s premier food destinations, it comes as no surprise that Hawke’s Bay is home to some of the country’s top produce markets. While each is brilliant in its own right, it doesn’t get much better than the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets, held Saturday mornings in Napier and Sunday mornings in Hastings. These markets are an absolute treat for the senses, with everything from freshly made chutneys to premium local cheeses filling the air with irresistible aromas. Crafty types will love the Hastings City Night Market, held near the iconic Art Deco clock tower every Thursday evening from 5pm. There’s a diverse array of local art and handmade crafts on show, as well as live music, family entertainment and beautiful food. Some of the store’s permanent retail stores also stay open late on Thursdays to accommodate the influx of people to the city.