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Hawke's Bay Complete Guide

In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste!

If you’re looking for sunshine then the next place in our Complete Guide series is going to be right up your street. The Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand is one of the warmest, sunniest and driest in the country. Not only does this make it a great places to take a weekend break or longer, it also makes it the ideal place to grow the grapes that produce some amazing wine – notably reds. The Hawke’s Bay region is famed for its cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah and the region is up there with New Zealand’s best when it comes to award-winning wines. If wine is not your thing, there is no shortage of things to do in the region from amazing wildlife to the stunning art deco architecture of Napier and Hastings to the awesome adventure activities that seem to be a fixture of most towns and cities throughout New Zealand. Anyway, it’s time to take a deep dive into the Hawke’s Bay region and let you in on some of the area’s best kept secrets. Let’s GO!

  • Napier

    Napier

    Napier is one of our favourite cities to spend a weekend and the city’s stunning architecture came about because of a natural disaster in the early 1930s. A huge earthquake struck New Zealand’s east coast, rocking Napier for over 3 minutes and

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    Napier is one of our favourite cities to spend a weekend and the city’s stunning architecture came about because of a natural disaster in the early 1930s. A huge earthquake struck New Zealand’s east coast, rocking Napier for over 3 minutes and destroying many of the city’s buildings as well as taking the life of nearly 260 people. Over the next two years the city was rebuilt reflecting the architectural styles of the time – Spanish Mission and Art Deco. What that means today is that Napier offers up something completely different to most towns and cities throughout New Zealand and is a great place to visit.

  • Hastings

    Hastings

    Also hit by the same 1931 earthquake, Hastings also has a distinctly Art Deco/Spanish Mission feel, creating a pretty unique feel about the place. Hastings is also one of New Zealand’s best wine producing regions and the climate also makes for g

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    Also hit by the same 1931 earthquake, Hastings also has a distinctly Art Deco/Spanish Mission feel, creating a pretty unique feel about the place. Hastings is also one of New Zealand’s best wine producing regions and the climate also makes for great fruit growing conditions. Orchards and vineyards surround the urban area and in the summer time you will drive past heaps of street stalls selling local fresh fruit which is amazing. If wine is your thing there are over 40 vineyards to visit which should keep you busy! A top tip is a trip to the local farmer’s market on a Sunday morning.

  • Gisborne

    Gisborne

    Although Gisborne sits just outside of the Hawke’s Bay region, it’s a popular spot on the east coast for people touring around New Zealand. It’s the first place in the world to see the sunrise and also has a reputation for great food, wine a

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    Although Gisborne sits just outside of the Hawke’s Bay region, it’s a popular spot on the east coast for people touring around New Zealand. It’s the first place in the world to see the sunrise and also has a reputation for great food, wine and surf beaches which ticks a lot of boxes as a place to stay. There is a lot of Maori heritage in and around Gisborne and old traditions are still evident in many parts of the city. Add to this that Kaiti Beach was the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in New Zealand in 1769 and there is a lot to see and do in this small seaside town.

Best accommodation in the Hawke's Bay

Once you have decided which town you are going to base yourself in, it’s time to choose some accommodation. Whether you’re looking for five star luxury hotels or a remote campground, you’re well catered for in the Hawke’s Bay. We have focussed on the three main cities listed above when it comes to accommodation and threw it out to our GO Explore followers to send in their top tips for places to stay – they didn’t let us down!

Best places to eat out in the Hawke's Bay

All the way from Hastings up the east coast to Gisborne there are heaps of great places to eat out in the Hawke’s Bay region. Whether you are looking for a fancy restaurant to celebrate a special occasion or you’re looking for a cheap street eat, you’re sure to find something for all occasions and budgets. Here are some of our top tips from our GO Explore fans:

Best Vineyards in the Hawke's Bay

New Zealand has some awesome wine growing regions from Marlborough and the Central Otago in the South Island to the Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Island in the North. A trip to the Hawke’s Bay region for many offers up the opportunity to visit some of these truly stunning vineyards. Here is a list of some of our favourites:

Best activities in the Hawke's Bay

The Hawke’s Bay region is a great place to spend a weekend, a week or longer. Touring the east coast is one of New Zealand’s great road trips and whether you are looking forward to relaxing and sampling some wine or you want to get out and get active, the Hawke’s Bay region ticks all the boxes. Here are some of the favourite activities sent in by our GO Explore fans:

Trip Planner

  • 5
    Days

    Wellington to Tongariro Round Trip – 5 days

    Driving Tour

    Great news – you’ve got some holidays! Time to take a 5 day trip from Wellington, up to Napier for a bit of wine sampling and back to Wellington via the Tongariro Crossing. There’s lots to fit into this short break so check out some of our top

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  • 10
    Days

    Wellington to New Plymouth Round Trip – 10 days

    Driving Tour

    10 days off?! Magnificent news and pretty exciting that you’re planning a trip around the lower North Island. This 10 day journey will take you to some of New Zealand’s most popular destinations such as the wine growing region of Hawke's Bay, the

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  • 3
    Days

    Wellington to Napier Round Trip – 3 days

    Driving Tour

    Great news – you’ve got a long weekend! Time to take a 3 day trip from Wellington to Napier for a bit of wine sampling and back to Wellington for a bit of capital culture. There’s lots to fit into this short break so check out some of our top t

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