🚗 self-drive itinerary
🛏️ minimum 2 night stay recommended
🍽️ dining suggestions offered
📅 visit any time of year
An eclectic mix of visual and sensual experiences the Hawke's Bay is blessed with a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate. Travel to one of New Zealand's warmest and driest regions.
Highlights can include:
- hear the story of the earthquake that devastated the original town and discover the Art Deco era of style and optimism in which the present day Napier was built on an Art Deco TrustGuided Walk
- step back in time to see the amazing Art Deco architecture and heritage in a 1930s vintage car
- at Lake Tutira take a short walk along the edge of the freshwater lake or a longer loop through the reserve
- Splash Planet is New Zealand’s only water theme park and is a beloved Hawke's Bay destination open in Summer where families make lifetime memories on water rides and attractions 👪
- take a short, easy walk through Otatara Pā, one of the largest and most ancient Māori pā sites, offering commanding views of the coastline
- soak up the scenery on a horse trek and experience beach, river and winery rides on well-mannered, well-trained horses 🐴
stroll along Napier’s Marine Parade and soak in the atmosphere along this seaside path featuring the Sunken Gardens and the Pania of the Reef statue among other activities
from September through April each year at low tide you can visit the worlds largest & most accessible gannet colony at spectacular Cape Kidnappers - a favourite for families, geologists and bird enthusiasts
complete a round atCape Kidnappers Golf Course hailed as one of the great modern marvels in golf designed by golf architect Tom Doak 🏌️
Join a Wine Tour and discover New Zealand's oldest wine region known for its red wines - cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah - but also has some stunning whites 🍷
Maraetotara Falls is a hugely popular Summer spot for locals and visitors alike set amid the native bush just 10 minutes from the road
the stunning Mohaka River gorgeoffers an unparalleled North Island day trip white water rafting experience
Birdwoods Gallery & Sweet Shop is a special place set in the countryside near Havelock North, offering a gallery, sculpture garden, cafe and old fashioned sweet shop 🍭
at the National Aquarium of New Zealand you'll discover a diverse range of aquatic animals and wildlife, both native species and from around the world 🐟
relatively undeveloped Ocean Beach is popular with surfers and families alike 🐚
tour by bike and take advantage of the 200km of off-road cycle trails weaving between world acclaimed wineries, stunning scenery and fabulous food options 🚴
Te Mata Peak rises 399 metres above sea level, offers 360° views over the Hawke's Bay and is easily accessible along a sealed road that leads to the popular lookout at the summit, as well as several trails for hikers and mountain bikers ⛰️
get a photo with the world's longest place name that belongs to a hill in the Hawke's Bay, and have fun trying to pronounce it- Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu
wander past castle-like limestone formations and into deep forest before emerging at the base of the stunning Shine Falls (pictured) – the highest waterfall in Hawke's Bay. Why not pack a picnic lunch and look for eels living in the stream at the base of the falls
celebrate the honey bee and the joy of honey in a modern interactive environment at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre which also showcases a great retail area 🍯🐝
all aboard the Hawke's Bay Express, a modern road train which is custom designed and splendidly crafted like an old-fashioned steam engine touring Napier each summer season
take an exhilarating tour onboard a V8 Chevrolet Super Trike and enjoy the smiles and waves from envious onlookers as you tour around the region
AT A GLANCE
📍 # of Visitors5.5
🌦️ Chance of Rain2.5
👨👩👦👦 Family Fun5.0
🍽️ Food + Wine 7.0
🏳️🌈 LGBTQI+ friendly 👍
Note: the highest possible score is an 8.0
🎥video courtesy of Napier City Council on YouTube
Sit back and relax. We've planned it all for you.
Day 1 : Arrive in the Hawke's Bay
You'll travel to the Hawke's Bay, arriving either by car, coach, or by flying into Napier Airport. Upon arrival into the Hawke's Bay you'll check in to your accommodation, settle in and get acquainted with your surroundings for the next 2 nights.
That afternoon you'll tour Napier, first stop - a lookout point photo opportunity affording the best views over Napier that only locals know about (forget Bluff Hill Lookoutas the vegetation has grown so much it blocks most of the views!). Then drive to the Centennial Gardens and park your car. The rest of today's tour will be on foot. Within an easy walk you'll be able to take in many fine examples of Art Deco architecture, enjoy shopping, dining of the city centre and a chance to enjoy the attractions along Marine Parade. No tour would be complete without viewing the short film playing regularly at the Art Deco Trust which offers insight on how the area became synonymous with Art Deco architecture and the 1930s.
After dark, we'll offer suggestions on the best places to eat and hot spots after dark, or start the wine touring in style at a vineyard restaurant.
Day 2 : a full day in the Hawke's Bay
The Hawke's Bay is known for its wine and while you can explore the vineyards on your own, jumping on a tour will allow you to indulge in the experience and local experts will know which cellar doors are open on the day of your visit - there's nothing worse than making the effort to get a vineyard, only to find it closed! So we highly recommend a tour of some sort. A couple of our favourites are Elephant Hill and Mission Estate.
However, if wine is not the focus of your visit, there's plenty else to get excited about.
Animal lovers will really enjoy the National Aquarium of New Zealand which gets better each time we visit inviting you into the world that lies in the coasts surrounding New Zealand. It's also a great place to get up close to some of our unique land animals like penguins, kiwi birds and tuatara. A short drive away you'll find the popular Arataki Honey Visitor Centre which showcases honey bees and of course their honey products with interactive displays that will likely give you new appreciation for the humble honey bee.
If you're feeling like you want to get a bit more active, why not hire a bike and explore one of the many cycle trails. Our favourite trail takes in historic Otatara Maori Pa site, the iconicPuketapu Pub and the Silky Oaks Chocolate Factory and Café taking around 4 hours to complete.
Spend the rest of your time visiting wonderfully unique Birdwoods Gallery, and enjoy charming Havelock North Village before enjoying the views from the summit of Te Mata Peak at sunset.
Whatever you've ended up doing with your day though, we'll arrange dinner tonight for you to celebrate delicious Hawke's Bay wine and great food and your last night in this region at one of our favourite restaurants in the area.
Day 3 : Depart the Hawke's Bay
This morning, if you're travelling north, you could break up your journey with a picnic stop after a short walk at Lake Tutira or take longer break to view impressive Shine Falls. Travelling south you could detour via the hill with the world's longest place name before leaving the area. We'll let you know the best way to get from this region to the next part of your New Zealand trip, wherever you want that to be.