Hawkes Bay Region
Hawke’s Bay is situated on the lower east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, and opens onto the Pacific Ocean. It is bordered to the north by the Mahia Peninsula and to the south by Cape Kidnappers. The region’s rich alluvial plains and warm climate provide the ideal ingredients for making this the horticultural centre of New Zealand, and one of the country’s prime winemaking areas. No visit to the region is complete without a vineyard tour, or lunch at one of the many award winning wineries.
The region has three main towns, Napier and Hastings in the south and Wairoa to the north. Napier is a popular seaside resort and is the Art Deco centre of New Zealand. Rebuilt in the 1930s following a massive earthquake, the town’s well preserved buildings retain the original charm of the era and are internationally renowned. The town offers the visitor a wide selection of accommodation and has numerous shops, cafes and restaurants. The oceanfront Marine Parade is host to a number of the town’s attractions such as the Aquarium, Marineland, Hawkes Bay Museum and Opossum World.
Hastings lies 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the south of Napier, on the Heretaunga Plains. It is surrounded by grape and fruit growing land. It too was rebuilt in 1931, and is the only town in New Zealand laid out in the style of the American block system. It has a number of historic buildings built in the Spanish Mission style, and is also home to the popular Splash Planet, a large water based amusement park.
The town of Wairoa is in the northernmost part of Hawkes Bay. The surrounding countryside is mainly farmland for sheep and cattle and was originally a port for the wool, flax and meat trade. Today it is a service centre for the surrounding region and can boast a lighthouse built of solid kauri, which stands in the main street of the town.