Hawke's Bay is a region on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. The population centre is on the Heretaunga Plains, consisting of the twin cities of Napier and Hastings and satellite towns. The coastal areas are sunny and relatively dry, due to the location on the east coast. The Heretaunga Plains are renowned for their horticulture (orchards, vineyards and gardens). As the cities suffered great destruction in an earthquake in 1931 and were rebuilt in the 1930s, they are now known for their concentration of Art Deco architecture remaining from that period.
- Dannevirke – a town on the main highway in southern Hawke's Bay
- Elsthorpe – village in the Central Hawke's Bay countryside on the way to Kairakau Beach
- Flaxmere – a satellite suburb of Hastings
- Hastings – has Art Deco architecture, like Napier, and is well known for fantastic food and copious sunshine
- Havelock North – a town that rises from the plains up into Te Mata Hills close to Hastings
- Morere – hot springs and bush walks in northern Hawke's Bay
- Napier – famed for its Art Deco architecture
- Taradale – known for its old wineries, formerly an independent town, now a suburb of Napier
- Wairoa – coastal town in northern Hawke's Bay
- Waipukurau – a town on the main highway in Central Hawke's Bay
- Cape Kidnappers – gannet (seabird) sanctuary near Hastings. Walking access at low tide along sea shore.
- Esk Valley. Home to vineyards and wineries, some the oldest in Hawkes Bay, Lavender Farm, historic church and cafes. It is 12 minutes north of Napier and 25 minutes from the wilderness rivers such as the Mohaka. There are a number of family-run accommodation providers, including Esk Valley Lodge, a fully restored old farmhouse set in vineyards, orchards and gardens.
- Northern Hawke's Bay
- Lake Tutira
- Mahia Peninsula
- Lake Waikaremoana
- Te Urewera
- Central Hawke's Bay
- Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (which translates into English as The hilltop, where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his koauau (flute) to his beloved).
The Hawke's Bay district gets its name from Hawke Bay, a large bay in the North Island's eastern coastline. The district extends south almost to Woodville in Wairarapa.
Hawke's Bay was one of the original colonial provinces when New Zealand was colonised by British settlers in the mid to late nineteenth century. The original province stretched from the 39th parallel (north of Napier) to the Manawatu River south of Woodville, and this area has its own anniversary day public holiday, Hawke's Bay Show Day, which is held on the Friday before Labour Day (the fourth Monday in October). The small part of modern Hawke's Bay north of the 39th parallel observes Auckland Anniversary Day on the Monday closest to 29 January instead.
The flat fertile land has been developed for farming. Initially sheep, later beef and dairying as well as forestry, orcharding and cropping. The warm dry sunny climate makes the region ideal for winegrowing and the vineyard industry has developed strongly in recent years.
- State Highway 2 passes north-south through the centre of Napier and Hastings and the provincial towns.
- State Highway 5, the road from Taupo, joins State Highway 2 just north of Napier.
- From the south, State Highway 50 provides a scenic route that is more direct to Napier, but bypasses Waipukurau, Waipawa and Hastings. It is of a slightly lower standard than State Highway 2 and has some narrow winding sections that need to be taken slowly as well as a couple of single lane bridges with sharp approach corners at the bottom of steep grades, so take care.
- The historic Taihape road over the Kaweka Ranges could be entertaining in past times. It has an incredibly steep bit called the 'Gentle Annie' and the store keeper at the bottom kept a team of draught horses especially to carry wagons over this one piece of road. The road is now sealed all the way. It comes out at Fernhill, halfway between Hastings and Napier.
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- Hawke's Bay Airport is on the north-west outskirts of Napier and serves the region with domestic flights. Air New Zealand Link operates daily flights from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Jetstar also flies from Auckland and other airlines have flights from Blenheim, Gisborne and Wairoa.
- Wairoa Aerodrome has flights from Gisborne and Napier, provided by Air Napier.
- Luxury cruise liners often visit the port of Napier and allow day excursions around Hawke's Bay. If you are visiting it would be wise to hire a car if you are interested in exploring.
- Te Mata Peak - drive to the top for panoramic views
- National Aquarium of New Zealand. 546 Marine Parade, Napier. The National Aquarium has a reef tank, a travelator which spirals its way beneath the enormous oceanarium, creating the impression of a true underwater experience, and a typical New Zealand rocky shore environment. There are sharks, stingray and hundreds of fish species, many of them representative of the catches from along the East Coast. There are eels, trout, sea horse, turtles, octopus, tropical marine fish, kiwi, tuatara, water dragons, native frogs and crocodile also on display.
- Cape Kidnappers - gannet colony and panoramic views of the bay
- Hawke's Bay Wine Tours. Hawke's Bay is the country's oldest winemaking region, and tours depart Napier at 1PM, returning at 5PM. The tours visit 4-5 local wineries for tastes of Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other wines as well as local cheeses.
- Coastal Wine Cycles, 41 East Rd, Te Awanga, ☎ +64 6 280 5352. 11am to 3pm. Rents classic beach-cruiser bicycles to explore the coastal wineries and other attractions of Te Awanga, Hawke's Bay. There is a dedicated cycleway along the coast linking the wineries. NZD$40.