Solid Rock
photo by Mike Locke

Hawke's Bay is a district on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.


The Hawke's Bay district gets its name from Hawke Bay, a large bay in the North Island's eastern coastline. The district extends south almost to Woodville in Wairarapa.

Hawke's Bay was one of the original colonial provinces when New Zealand was colonised by British settlers in the mid to late nineteenth century. The flat fertile land has been developed for farming. Initially sheep, later beef and dairying as well as forestry, orcharding and cropping. The warm dry sunny climate makes the region ideal for winegrowing and the vineyard industry has developed strongly in recent years.


  • Northern Hawke's Bay

  • Central Hawke's Bay


  • Hastings - includes the districts of Flaxmere and Havelock North, also has Art Deco architecture and is well known for fantastic food and copious sunshine.

  • Napier - famed for its Art Deco architecture.

  • Wairoa - small coastal settlement in northern Hawke's Bay

Other destinations

  • Cape Kidnappers - Gannet (bird) sanctuary. Walking access at low tide along sea shore.

  • Clive

  • Elsthorpe - excellent rural New Zealand.

  • Puketapu

  • Central Hawke's Bay

    • Dannevirke

    • Waipukurau

    • Waipawa

    • Porangahau

    • Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (which translates into English as The hilltop, where Tamatea with big knees, conqueror of mountains, eater of land, traveller over land and sea, played his koauau (flute) to his beloved).

    • Tikokino

  • Northern Hawke's Bay

    • Lake Tutira

    • Mahia Peninsula

    • Lake Waikaremoana

    • Te Urewera National Park

    • Morere - hot springs and bush walks

Getting there

By bus

operates a premium sightseeing tours throughout the North Island.

is New Zealand's national coach company and operates over 150 services to more than 600 destinations nationwide.

By road

  • State Highway 2 passes through the centre of Napier and Hastings and the provincial towns.

  • State Highway 5 - the Napier-Taupo road - joins State Highway 2 just north of Napier.

  • If travelling from the south, State Highway 50 provides a scenic route that is more direct to Napier and bypasses Waipukurau, Waipawa and Hastings. This road is of a slightly lower standard than State Highway 2 and has some narrow winding sections that need to be taken slowly as well as a couple of single lane bridges with sharp approach coners at the bottom of steep grades, so take care.

  • If travelling from Taihape, the historic Taihape road over the Kaweka Ranges can be entertaining. It has an incrediably steep bit called the 'Gentle Annie' and and the store keeper at the bottom kept a team of draught horses especially to carry wagons over this one piece of road. Much of the road is dirt, but still easily driveable in a 2 wheel drive hatchback. It comes out at Fernhill, halfway between Hastings and Napier.

By plane

  • Hawke's Bay Airport serves the region with domestic flights from most locations withing New Zealand.

By boat

  • Luxury cruise liners often visit the port of Napier and allow day excursions around Hawke's Bay. If you are visiting it would be wise to hire a car if you are interested in exploring.


  • Cape Kidnappers - gannet colony and panoramic views of the bay

  • Te Mata peak - drive to the top for panoramic views

  • National Aquarium of New Zealand , 546 Marine Parade, Napier. The National Aquarium has a reef tank, a travelator which spirals its way beneath the enormous Oceanarium, creating the impression of a true underwater experience, and a typical New Zealand rocky shore environment. There are sharks, stingray and hundreds of fish species, many of them representative of the catches from along the East Coast. There are eels, trout, sea horse, turtles, octopus, tropical marine fish, kiwi, tuatara, water dragons, native frogs and crocodile also on display.

Things to do

  • Hawke's Bay Wine Tours. Hawke's Bay is the country's oldest winemaking region, and tours depart Napier at 1PM, returning at 5PM. The tours visit 4-5 local wineries for tastes of Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and other wines as well as local cheeses.


  • Esk Valley. Just north of Napier is the beautiful Esk Valley home to vineyards and wineries, some the oldest in Hawkes Bay, Lavender Farm, Historic Church and cafes. It is 12 minutes north of Art Deco Napier and 25 minutes from the wilderness rivers such as the Mohaka. In the valley there a number of fine family run accommodation providors. Esk Valley Lodge for example is a fully restored old farmhouse set in vineyards orchards and gardens.

Contact & location

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The photos displayed on this page are the property of one of the following authors:

Mike Locke

Some photos courtesy of: . The photos provided by Flickr are under the copyright of their owners.

This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Gnomee, Nick Roux, Ryan Holliday, Amelda and David, Nurg, Huttite, New Zealand Traveller, Vidimian, The Yeti, Mesipisian and Jonboy

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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