The Hawkes bay region spans from Gisborne in the North down towards Palmerston North in the south and is well known for it's fabulous vineyards and amazing coastline. The regions two largest cities, Hastings and Napier, sit 10 minutes apart on the coastline and have a combined population of over 140,000.
Top things to do include a visit to one of the regions many renowned vineyards such as Elephant Hill Estate, Craggy Range or Mission Estate. These and many more host fantastic restaurants, lovely views and produce world class wines. The Hawke's Bay Coastline also offers some fantastic attractions such as Cape Kidnappers and the surrounding area, here you can find a year round colony of Australasian gannets and beaches that look like they have been pulled straight from a postcard.
Lake Waikaremoana is situated in the Urewera Ranges near the Eastern Cape of the North Island, this large, isolated lake is home to one of New Zealand's 10 famous great walks - Lake Waikaremoana. This track winds through marvellous native forests that are home to some of New Zealand's most iconic birds, climbs bluffs for astonishing views of the lake, winds alongside the lakeshore with its myriad of bays and has a side trip to visit the blissful Korokoro Falls.
Lake Waikeremoana is quite out of the way and takes 3.5 hours to drive from Rotorua, 2.5 from Gisborne and just under 3 from Napier. The track is 46km long and usually takes people 3-4 days to tramp, with 5 huts and 5 campsites throughout the trail, this walk is open year round but you must make a booking on the DOC webpage. Often people also require a water taxi as this hike is not a loop and does not return to the start point.
The track is most commonly done in a anti-clockwise direction, departing from Onepoto Shelter and finishing at Hopuruahine Landing:
• Day One: Predominately an uphill climb to the top of the Panekiri Bluff to witness the spectacular view.
• Day Two: Mostly downhill, dropping into lush native forests before becoming flat near the lakeside
• Day Three/Four: Predominately flat along the lakeside following the wonderful myriad of bays, beaches and coves on the lakeside that are backed by captivating native bush.
To plan your hike and for more in depth information on the Lake Waikeremoana great walk, including times, distances, fees, hut information, safety requirements and more, please visit the DOC webpage here.
Photo Credit: Chris Mclennan
The twin coastal cities of Napier and Hastings are the largest urban area and hub of the Hawkes Bay region with a population of approximately 135,000 people. Aside from having a spectacular coastline this area is well know as one of the premier wine growing regions in New Zealand, some well known wineries include Church Road, Mission Estate and Brookfields, if you are in the region its well worth stopping in for a tasting, lunch, or joining a winery tour of the area.
The coastline is a popular destination year round, but especially so during the summer as winter tends to get a bit chillier this far south, some of our favourite spots include Waipatiki (great surf beach), Mahia Peninsula and Tangoio Beach which also has a fantastic 25m waterfall just inland that makes for a great freshwater swimming spot. There are also a number of outstanding walking and cycling tracks around the cities so be sure to take your time and explore this area properly!
The Hawkes Bay region is located on the lower east coast of the North Island, Napier and Hastings can be reached via the domestic airport of by road approximately 5 hours from Auckland and 4.5 hours from Wellington.
Photo Credit: Graeme Murray
Located about half an hour out of both Napier and Hastings, Cape Kidnappers is striking headland jutting out in to the Pacific Ocean that according to Maori legend is the tip of the fishhook that the demigod Maui used to pull the North Island from the ocean. The name itself came from an incident that occurred when Captain James Cook (the first European to set foot on New Zealand soil) had his ship the Endeavour just off the coast and the local Maori paddled out to trade with them. However instead of trying to trade with Cook and his crew the Maori tried to kidnap a Tahitian boy that was part of the crew, the attempt was unsuccessful and resulted in the crew firing upon the Maori and killing some of them, but lead to Cook naming the area Cape Kidnappers.
The Cape is most famous for its large Australasian Gannet colony, made up of approximately 6,500 pairs of nesting birds, making it the largest mainland colony in the world. Getting to the colony is a journey in itself, and can only be attempted around low tide. You can either walk along the beach from Scotsmans Point at Clifton before climbing the cliffs to the gannet colony, a return journey of 5 hours, or join a local 4WD or tractor tour to drive along the beach and visit the colony. If you decide to walk, be aware that you need to depart from and return to Scotsmans point no later than 3 hours either side of low ride, lest you become trapped on the beach.
Photo Credit: Miles Holden
Hawke’s Bay is the oldest one region New Zealand and second-largest. With the climate being just about perfect for wine growing can expect to find new favourite wine here. Around 88% of New Zealand’s red wine comes from Hawke’s Bay region however many other wines are made here including Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. There is currently a total of 72 wineries in Hawke’s Bay region and mini tours running around the area. Hawke’s Bay one website has A lot more in-depth information about events and current tours running in the region. If you’re not choosing to use a local tour company to take you around you’ll need a vehicle as the wineries are spread throughout the region.
Photo Credit: Camila Rutherford