Located on New Zealand’s North Island, Hawkes Bay is situated on the east coast and is best known for its main city, Napier. Set half way between Wellington and Auckland, Napier is renowned for its Art Deco architecture and is home to the largest concentration of inner-city Art Deco buildings in the world. One of the most popular things to do in Hawkes Bay, Napier’s jazz age architecture rose from the rubble of a catastrophic earthquake and fires which in 1931 devastated the city. Heartbreaking at the time, the rise of this unique city centre is now Napier’s biggest attraction.
Commemorating the incident during the 1769 voyage of Captain Cook, Cape Kidnappers is a craggy peninsula just 30 minutes’ drive from Napier and Hastings. Situated at the top of the Cape’s sheer, barren cliffs is the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. Visitors can get within a few feet of the birds with options to explore by 4WD or beach tractor ride. A wonderful attraction behind Havelock North, Te Mata Peak offers 360 degree views of Hawkes Bay with views of Mahia Peninsula and Napier to the north and east as well as the hill country of the south and east and the fertile plains of Heretaunga. The Maungaharuru, Ruahine and Kaweka ranges can also be seen, with Mount Ruapehu often visible in the distance.
Located in the north of Hawke’s Bay, Wairoa is the gateway to a variety of natural attractions including Lake Waikaremoana and Te Urewera National Park. Waimarama Beach is another popular attraction and is in fact one of New Zealand’s most sought after coastal resorts. Boasting long stretches of beautiful beach, the relaxing town features a boat loading ramp, seaside cafés and a variety of beach accommodation and is ideal for swimming, fishing, surfing, walking and jogging.
New Zealand’s National Aquarium is also located in Hawkes Bay and offers a family friendly range of activities and things to do including shark feeding, swimming with the sharks and even a sleep over in the Aquarium. Located in Hastings, Splash Planet is a water theme park offering 6.5 acres of pools, slides and motorised rides for all ages.
Some of the more unique and novel attractions in Hawkes Bay include being the first to see the sun rise, with Marine Parade being the best vantage point as the Hawke’s Bay coastline is the first in the country to see the sun come up. Located in Porangahau in Central Hawkes Bay, Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapiki- maungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu is the longest place name in the world.