Hawkes Bay travel
Travel May 29, 2020

Hawkes Bay-cation: where to stay, eat, play

We won’t be sipping sangria in Spain or climbing Machu Pichu just yet, but regional travel is open and it’s the perfect opportunity to explore our own country. And support local while we’re at it! If you’re looking for some culture, good wine and quintessential kiwi fun, Hawkes Bay might be your spot for a getaway.

Where to stay

Family friendly

Cottages on St Andrews is set on 5 acres of rural beauty, complete with it’s own petting zoo and heated pool. You’re hardly out in the wops though – Havelock North village is just a short stroll away.

Glamping

There are plenty of glamping spots in Hawkes Bay. Get immersed in the countryside (and bring the dog) at Tuki Tuki Valley. Experience the tranquility of Clifton and the Maraetotara River from the comfort of your private outdoor bath at Clifton Glamping. If you’re looking for a real escape from the city, opt for Birch Hill Station, featuring a charming shed and three luxury tents on a lamb and sheep farm. Great for families or groups – you can even bring your horse.

Boutique

The Art Deco Masonic Hotel is situated in the heart of New Zealand’s art deco capital. No suite is the same – everything is eclectic, bursting with colour, and art deco (of course). The perfect spot for getting some culture in your life – pop across the road to the Hawke’s Bay MTG (Museum, Theatre, Gallery) and the Art Deco Centre. 

Urban

Hawkes Bay isn’t known as a metropolis, but it’s buzzing all the same. Napier is the region’s big smoke, offering a fun nightlife and eclectic shopping. Stay at The Dome to be right in the centre of the action.

Where to eat (and drink)

Elephant Hill and Craggy Range

Hawkes Bay is known for its wine, and these are two of the best wineries to sip the day away.

Pacifica

This unassuming, award-winning restaurant won’t disappoint, particularly if you love your seafood. 

Pipi Café and Truck

Pipi has become somewhat of an institution in Havelock North, serving exceptional pizza in an eclectic yet casual setting. Find the café on the corner of Joll Road – you won’t miss its hot pink exterior. Follow Pipi on Facebook for the elusive daily location of the truck. 

Bistronomy

Known as ‘the restaurant’ for foodies in Napier, you can’t go past Bistronomy if you’re looking for something a little fancy. 

Fun Buns

If you find yourself in Hastings (or even if you don’t) be sure to check out Fun Buns. It offers an entire bao menu, kitsch décor, and fun cocktails. What more could you want? 

What to do

A trip to Hawkes Bay doesn’t have to be full of activities – just being there in all its sunny, art deco glory is experience enough, but here are a bunch of fun things to do.

Climb Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak offers 360 degree views of Hawkes Bay – on a good day you can see as far as Mount Ruapehu. Run, walk or mountain bike the picturesque paths. Choose from a range of walking tracks up to 2 hours, and be sure to include a trip to the spectacular Redwood forest. Learn the rich culture of the area with Waimarama Maori Tours.

Hawkes Bay Cycle Trail

Experience the region on two wheels. The Hawkes Bay Trail offers 200km of flat, easy terrain. Choose your own route or pick one of the planned trips to experience the coastal sights, iconic landscapes or wineries.

National Aquarium of New Zealand

Watch schools of fish, sharks and stingrays swim above you in the oceanarium tunnel. Meet charming Kiwis and tuatara, and get up close and personal with penguins.

Gannet Beach Adventures

A trip to Hawkes Bay isn’t complete without a Cape Kidnappers tractor ride. The journey is as thrilling as the destination. Jump onto a vintage tractor for a bumpy ride along the sand to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony.

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