Hawkes Bay

Overview

If you consider yourself a bit of a 'foodie', Hawkes Bay should be high on your destination hit list - with its warm climate and fertile soils, the region is one of New Zealand's leading producers of wine, and also has some of the country's best dining events, award-winning restaurants and farmers markets all showcasing fantastic local produce.   

Big wide open landscapes stretch out for miles, setting a beautiful backdrop to your holiday, and a number of natural landmarks make for some stunning exploration.  Cape Kidnappers hosts the world's largest mainland colony of gannets, Te Mata Peak offers some breathtaking walking trails with coastline views, and a series of flat biking trails offer an exciting way to explore the region, connecting with many of the area's 30+ cellar door tasting rooms.

Characterful architecture in Napier and Hastings have given the Hawkes Bay region its art-deco identity and beautiful buildings line the streets to take you back in time to a bygone era.  Vintage-inspired tours are popular in the region, and in February there is a hugely popular week-long Art Deco festival.


Hawkes Bay in Summer

Warm temperatures and a calendar full of events make Hawkes Bay a popular choice for a summer holiday - sun-lovers can spend lazy days by the beach, or you might want to book yourself in for a long sunny al fresco lunch at one of the regions beautiful vineyards.  There are some fantastic breweries and cideries also on offer to switch things up from the endless wine and provide an alternative refreshing tipple for the hot summer days.  Hiking and biking are popular choices in the Summer months - after all, they are great for burning off the extra calories you'll be consuming in food and wine country!  The extensive bike trails of Hawkes Bay offer a great way to get around the vineyards without a designated driver for the day.  Book accommodation early in summer to avoid disappointment, and if you are visiting town for a special event (such as the Art Deco festival or the Mission Estate Concert) make your accommodation arrangements as early as possible.

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Hawkes Bay in Autumn

In Autumn, the landscapes change and the leaves glow in warm colours, changing the scenery of the region - the low sun and long shadows of Autumn make morning or evening adventures even more magical, and perfect for photography.  The Autumn climate is perfect for exploring without the blazing heat of summer, and the many golf courses in the region start to rejuvenate.  If you like to keep active, the Hawkes Bay marathon runs in May, and the route is a great showcase of the region, taking participants through vineyards, olive groves, secluded country roads and finally crossing the finish line in (of course) a vineyard!

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Hawkes Bay in Winter

The temperatures might drop, but Hawkes Bay remains beautiful in Winter - long sunny days give way to crisp mornings, and snow-topped ranges change the landscape once again.  Frost on the ground gives the perfect excuse to dive into a delicious bottle of local red and position yourself next to a cosy fireplace to enjoy the peaceful tranquillity of the region.  A winter minibreak in Hawkes Bay is all about recharging and indulging, two things we can always get behind!

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Hawkes Bay in Spring

Who doesn't love spring - the season of new starts, bumper crops and vibrant colours to match the art deco buildings of the area!  Hawkes Bay is beginning to gear up for a busy Summer season, and visitors are making their way outdoors again to hike and bike, with the tracks drying out, the temperatures getting warmer and the days getting longer.  The famous Hawkes Bay Farmers Market bustles with visitors and fresh local goodies, and the local gannets have returned ready to nest and mate.  Events start to fill up the local calendar again, making the hard part choosing which ones you want to attend!

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Accessing Hawkes Bay

Hawkes Bay Airport (NPE) offers domestic flights from the major cities of NZ and is located just a 10-minute drive from Napier.  Hawkes Bay connects by road to Taupo (90 mins), Gisborne and Wellington (3 hours).



Hawkes Bay Busy Periods

During these dates, when the town fills with visitors, it will pay to plan ahead and book early to avoid disappointment:

  • Christmas & New Year
  • Summer School Holidays 
  • Art Deco Festival in February
  • Concerts & Events (variable dates)
  • Food & Wine Classic Festival


MajorDomo's Top Hawkes Bay Restaurant Picks

A selection of some of our favourite places to dine out for a special treat:

  • Bistronomy
  • Craggy Range Winery
  • Funbuns
  • Emporium
  • Carrs Kitchen
  • Pacifica
  • Hunger Monger


Popular Hawkes Bay Activities

Hawkes Bay is a relaxed destination but if you'd like to enjoy some activities whilst visiting, some of the most popular options are:

  • Cycling
  • Wine Tours
  • Vintage / Historic tours
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights
  • Golf
  • Gannet Colony Tours



Popular Hawkes Bay Hikes


With an abundance of day hikes around the local area, we suggest popping into the local Department of Conservation office when you arrive to discuss the current status of tracks and which would be best suited to your fitness level.  Some of the more popular short hikes and day hikes include:

  • Tangoio Falls scenic reserves track (low fitness level required)
  • Otatara Pā historic reserve walk(low fitness level required)
  • Ahuriri Estuary (moderate fitness level required)
  • Boundary Stream (moderate to high fitness level required)
  • Te Mata Peak (moderate to high fitness level required)


Ready to start planning your Hawkes Bay holiday?

If you'd like some help planning a Hawkes Bay holiday, you can browse our luxury Hawkes Bay luxury properties here or contact us now to discuss your needs and we'll do all the hard work for you.

Hawkes Bay Highlights
  • Sunny Weather and Warm Climate
  • Boutique vineyards & cellar doors
  • Fresh Food Produce
  • Many Golf Courses
  • Extensive Cycling Trails
  • Amazing Food Scene
  • Art Deco Capital of New Zealand
  • Beautiful Beaches
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