Hawke's Bay – renowned as one of New Zealand's richest agricultural areas – offers a happy marriage between lush green vineyards and spectacular coastlines, with the Pacific Ocean providing a stunning backdrop. The long-established wine-growing region has produced some of the finest wines across multiple varieties, as it is the warmest and driest part of New Zealand. One one of New Zealand's leading producers of wine,
this is a key stop on the classic NZ wine trail. Book a driver for the day or take advantage of the numerous cycle routes and bicycle tours that will guide you around the vineyard, taking you to the cellar doors for introductions to the region and wine-growers as you enjoy a tasting. These cycle trails are suitable for all levels, and we think it is by far the best way to explore the region – just make sure you don't fall off your bikes after all that sauvignon and pinot noir.
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If the cycling and wine tasting isn't quite quenching your adventure thirst, fear not – there is always Te Mata Peak to tackle. At more than 1,300ft above sea level, you can bike or hike up this amazing hill and be rewarded with the spectacular panoramic views of the bay and surroundings. There is a wonderful famers market open every Sunday, to grab a bite to eat, meet the locals and buy sustainably-produced fresh food.
Head to the coast to get the wind blowing through your hair at the ominously-named and sensationally beautiful Cape Kidnappers. This striking and dramatic coastline is home to numerous luxury retreats, a golf course with a serious view, and Australasia's largest mainland gannet colony.
Interestingly, Hawke's Bay is also known for being New Zealand's Art Deco Capital, with Napier and Hastings (the area's most populated towns) rebuilt in the architectural styles of its time, following a catastrophic earthquake in 1931. Napier is famous for being one of the most complete collections of Art Deco buildings in the world and is also home to a fun festival of over 200 events every February where thousands of people travel back in time with flapper dresses, dapper suits and vintage cars.