Hawke's Bay is well-known for its rolling pastures and fertile vineyards, and you could easily spend your entire New Zealand holiday enjoying the attractions of this one region alone. Dotted among the endless verdure, you'll find historic wine estates, pretty farms and Napier's Art Deco delights, while the coast serves up golden bays and plenty of sunshine.
In some respects, Napier is lost somewhere in the 1930s. Situated in the southwest corner of Hawke's Bay, its appearance has been shaped in part by the devastating earthquake, which levelled the town in 1931. After the disaster, the town was redeveloped in finest Art Deco style, and many of these buildings still survive today. With a pleasantly warm climate, the area is also home to New Zealand's oldest wineries, including the Mission Estate, which was founded in 1858 by French Catholic missionaries, who made the most of the ideal grape-growing conditions.
Hastings & Havelock North
The largest settlement in the Hawke's Bay area, and one of the sunniest spots in New Zealand, Hastings is sheltered by mountains to the west that gently slope towards fertile plains. There's plenty to do, including extensive wine tours and art trails. Like Napier, Hastings is home to a number of prominent Art Deco buildings, with the Westerman's Building and the city's clock tower among the best examples. There are also some fascinating suburbs to explore, not least Havelock North. Nestled on the slopes of Te Mata Peak. among vineyards, orchards and farmland, this charming township offers views over towards Hastings, Napier and several mountain peaks. The wineries are a popular stop-off point, set in beautiful Te Mata Park, while the area is also known for its honey farms. Be sure to enjoy a tasting, and pick up a couple of jars of manuka honey, before setting off on your next adventure.