New Zealands Mediterranean: Hawke’s Bay

The Hawke’s Bay district, named for Hawke Bay, a semi-circle of coastline christened by British explorer, Captain James Cook. The region runs from Woodville to Wairarapa and encompasses both Napier and Hastings. Often compared to the mediterranean, Hawke’s Bay has a sunny dry climate ideal for viticulture, and is known globally for its wine.

As the nation’s first winemaking region, a visit to one of its 30 wineries is a must. A trip to Mission Estate, touted as the the birthplace of NZ wine, can’t be missed. For the truly enthused head out on a tour of the vines. We recommend the Grape Escape to make the most of what’s on offer.  If you’re after some fresh air, hire a bike and take your pick of one of over 200km of cycling trails or head on down to one of the many beaches that ring the area. Ocean or Waimarama beach are good choices, and both are patrolled by surf lifeguards during the summer. Indulge in some local produce and head out on a cheese, chocolate, honey or orchard tour. Climb on the apple wagon at Pernell Orchard for a hour long ride through its 33 hectares of fruit or tempt your taste buds with a trip to the Silky Oak Chocolate Company.

Those into Gatsby will enjoy the chance to view prominent Art Deco landmarks on a 1930s Vintage Car Tour. Passengers will spend just over an hour learning about the history of the city’s architecture – including the Napier Municipal Theatre, one of the top ten Art Deco Buildings in the world. Spend time at Cape Kidnappers, a prominent sandstone headland, home to the largest mainland Gannet Colony in the world. A must-see on any visit to the region, the colony is closed to public vehicle access and can only be viewed by walking, hitching a ride on a custom built tractor-trailer or kayaking. The Cape is also known for its spectacular golf course, designed by American Tom Doak. The sixth hole is regarded as one of the greatest golfing holes in the world.

Whether you’re a relax-in-the-sun kind of person, or a hit-the-trails-and-the-surf kind of person. Hawke’s Bay has something for you. To make the most of its attractions we recommend at least 2 nights here.

I arrived in NZ from the UK in 2004. My partner and I go to the UK each year to visit friends and family. We always have a stopover on the way there and for 3-4 nights on our way back to NZ. Shannell has been our travel agent on every occasion and she has been perfect with flights, hotel recommendations, tour and pickup arrangements etc. Shannell is great at passing on her clients feedback and there has never been a single hiccup. We have recommended Shannell to all our friends.