On the east coast of the North Island, bathed in sunshine hours, is Hawkes Bay. It has two main centres: the twin cities of Napier and Hastings.
Explore vineyards, orchards and beaches
Napier has its own airport, which was voted New Zealand Regional Airport of the Year in 2013. Low cost airline Jetstar is now operating out of Napier Airport, in competition to the national carrier, Air New Zealand. This makes flying into Napier Airport to pick up your hire car an attractive option, with cheaper and more frequent flights now available.
If you are driving, getting to the Hawkes Bay takes a bit of effort. Heading south from Auckland or the Bay of Plenty, the most common route is through Taupo. There is little of note on the Napier-Taupo highway, you have the feeling of remoteness, and passing into a different part of the country.
Napier is a popular tourist city due to a unique concentration of 1930s' art deco architecture. It also has one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the country, a statue on Marine Parade called Pania of the Reef. You'll find some of the best wine producers in New Zealand in the areas surrounding Napier and Hastings.
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Napier-Hastings Guide by VroomVroomVroom
Popular for its collection of art deco buildings, Napier plays host to an Art Deco Summer Festival every February drawing thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world. The buildings are available all year round on guided or independent tours too. Hawkes Bay's high concentration of wineries in a small area makes this a great place for vineyard trails. Having a hire car means you can set your own itinerary and schedules.
THINGS TO DO
Things to do | Places to stay | Places to eat
1001 Grove Road, Hastings, New Zealand
What opened as Fantasy Land (theme park) in 1967 is now “Hawke's Bay's Number One Family Attraction” 6.5 hectares of water madness! And with tons of wet and dry attractions available, memories to last a lifetime will be made. This is a must go family location!
Open from 10am - 5.30pm
11th November 2013 - 6th February 2014 (7 days)
8th February 2014 - 30 March 2014 (weekends only)
Art Deco Trust
7 Tennyson Street, Napier, New Zealand
The Art Deco Trust is dedicated to the preservation, promotion and celebration of the Art Deco City of Napier. Providing a variety of walks and tours that will take you back in time, you learn about the history and stories embedded in the architecture of Napier.
The National Aquarium of New Zealand
546 Marine Parade, Napier South, New Zealand
Whether it's swimming with the sharks or peering through a glass window, this aquarium offers fantastic intimate experiences with underwater life. Leave with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the ocean and the life contained within it.
Open from 9am-5pm 7 days (Last entry @ 4:30pm and Closed Christmas day)
Hawkes Bay is well known for its world class wines, some of New Zealand's oldest wineries are here. There are many ways to tour the cellar doors for tastings, but one of the best is to do it by bike. As part of the New Zealand cycleways project, the Hawkes Bay has over 200 kilometres of trails, with part of the network devoted to following the vineyards. On Yer Bike Winery Tours is a bike hire company that specialises in vineyard visits. They will gear you up, and send you out on a 20 kilometre circuit, concentrating in the terriors known as the Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa Triangle. They offer vehicle support and a wine collection service. New Zealand drink drive laws have become stricter recently, choose a way to tour the vineyards which keeps you safe.
PLACES TO STAY
Pebble Beach Motor Inn
445 Marine parade, Napier, NZ
Ranked No.1 of 47 hotels in Napier and Travellers' Choice™ 2014 Winner for service by Tripadvisor, you won't be disappointed with this luxurious oceanfront accommodation that's set perfectly on Napier's Marine Parade. Within easy walking distance to restaurants, cafés and the city centre attractions, You'll feel like royalty with the in room spa pools, “Satinjet” rainforest showers and super-king beds.
Portside Inn Backpackers Lodge
52 Bridge Street, Ahuriri, Napier, NZ
Best ranked hostel in Napier. Ideal for those on a tighter budget but still out for a quality experience, this Backpackers Lodge provides easy walking distance to cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. It has spacious facilities and BBQ areas for you to enjoy.
Kennedy Park Resort
11 Storkey Street, Napier, NZ
5 star Camping/Caravan site and Certificate of Excellence 2013 WINNER by Tripadvisor. This site has modern, fully-equipped communal kitchens, bathrooms and laundry facilities, BBQ's, group dining room (by arrangement), internet kiosk room, sky television on the big screen in the TV lounge, wireless broadband internet connection and a waste disposal station.
Located in the heart of Napier this site makes access to supermarkets, the Art Deco shop, galleries and cafes an easy 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk.
PLACES TO EAT
24A Hastings Street, Napier, New Zealand
Ranked #1 of 130 restaurants in Napier and 214 restaurants in Hawke's Bay Region awarded Certificate of Excellence 2014 by Tripadvisor- this authentic Indian Restaurant with its philosophy “to ensure the guest feels like God” is guaranteed to please.
Open: Monday- Wednesday, Dinner: 5pm – 11pm
Thursday – Sunday, Lunch: 12pm – 2pm, Dinner: 5pm – 11pm
Mission Estate Restaurant & Winery
198 Church Road, Greenmeadows, Napier, New Zealand
Ranked #3 of 130 restaurants in Napier and 214 restaurants in Hawke's Bay Region awarded Certificate of Excellence 2014 by Tripadvisor - this restaurant provides a Brasserie, New Zealand cuisine in an intimate indoor or stunning alfresco dining atmosphere.
Open: 10am daily, with the lunch menu and dinner menu changing regularly to reflect the seasonal influence.
Have you traveled to Napier or Hastings? Share your favourite spots and experiences below...
Use your rental car to check out these great events while visiting or staying in Napier-Hastings.
Art Deco Weekend 15-19 February 2017
A weekend celebrating Napier's unique Art Deco character. Over 40,000 people flock to the city for this event. Over 200 events are run, including outdoor concerts, vintage car parades, fashion shows and Great Gatsby picnics.
New Zealand Horse of the Year Show 7-12 March 2017
The New Zealand Horse of the Year show is the largest equestrian event in the Southern Hemisphere. It is held in March, and has been based at the Hawkes Bay A & P Showgrounds in Hastings for 17 years. There is something to see for both horse-lovers and casual visitors alike. The spectacle includes up to 2600 horses, and 1800 riders competing over 28 arenas.
NZ Royal A & P Show, Hastings. 19,20,21 October 2016
Hawkes Bay is on show in New Zealand's premier agricultural and pastoral event. It is a celebration of the region's wine, produce and lifestyle. There are animals of all shapes and sizes to see, as well as rural arts such as wood chopping, fencing and sheep shearing. There are trade displays and amusement rides. Experience a slice of real rural New Zealand.
Napier Airport Car Rental
Napier Airport,North IslandNew Zealand