Hawke's Bay Scenic Highlights
Hawke's Bay | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History
The landscapes of Hawke's Bay begin with the high, forested Ruahine and Kaweka Ranges, down towards the coast, and the Heretaunga Plains.
Hawke's Bay Scenic Highlights Overview
The horizon tumbles down from the mountains to the sea, promising every kind of scenery in Hawke's Bay. Charge up your camera and explore the landscape—the gentle climate delivers clear, photogenic days in every season.
A Feast of Art Deco Architecture
Napier was rebuilt in the early 1930s following a massive Richter 7.9 earthquake. Subsequent fires destroyed most of its commercial heart. By the end of the decade, Napier was the newest city on the globe.
Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930's—Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco—in such a concentrated area. And Napier's Art Deco is unique, with Māori motifs and the buildings of Louis Hay, admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright.
A Landscape Lined with Vineyards
Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand's premier wine producing regions. It is known for its Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Hawke's Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling are also highly regarded.
A sunny climate, combined with excellent growing conditions and the artistry of the winemakers, has led to world recognition for many Hawke's Bay wineries.
You can drive yourself around the vineyards, or join one of the professional wine tours operated by experienced wine guides and tour operators. Soak up the atmosphere in one of the many cafes and restaurants or dine alfresco amidst the vineyards, orchards and olive plantations. There is often live music to enhance your experience. After lunch, try your hand at the French boules game of petanque.
Climb to the top of Te Mata Peak
Te Mata Peak towers 400 metres above sea level and offers panoramic views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. The volcano Ruapehu is also visible in the distance. There are a number of walking trails through the Te Mata Peak Trust Park.
According to Māori legend, Te Mata's hillscape is a sleeping giant. The story goes that the people of the Heretaunga Plains, who lived in fear of the coastal tribes of Waimarama, arranged for the beautiful maiden Hinerakau to capture the heart of Te Mata, the giant leader of the Waimarama tribes. The plan succeeded, but she too fell in love.
However, the people of Heretaunga wanted revenge for years of trouble with the Waimarama tribes. They demanded that Hinerakau make Te Mata prove his devotion by biting through the hills between the coast and the plains, so that people could come and go with greater ease.
Te Mata died proving his love and today his half-accomplished work can be seen in what is known as The Gap or Pari Karangaranga (echoing cliffs). His prostrate body forms Te Mata Peak.
Lake Tutira Wildlife Refuge and Country Park
Lake Tutira is 40 kilometres north of Napier. An island on the lake houses a bird sanctuary and wildlife refuge—a fitting memorial to Herbert Guthrie-Smith, the former owner of the land, who played a major role in alerting the public to the needs of conservation. There is good swimming in the lake and excellent trout fishing where a stream flows into its northern reaches.
For centuries, Māori seasonally lived by Lake Tutira and you can see the remains of six pa sites. The Tutira Walkway passes through Tutira Station and the adjoining Lake Tutira Domain. There are splendid views of coastal Hawke's Bay from Table Mountain Trig.
Te Angiangi Marine Reserve
Te Angiangi Marine Reserve is located on the Central Hawke's Bay coast, east of Waipukurau.
Low tide exposes a broad rock platform, providing access to a fascinating variety of marine life. Distinctive plants and animals include the golden limpet and large beds of Neptune's necklace. Pink coralline seaweed and eel grass can be seen; small fish, crabs, juvenile paua and kina inhabit the rock pools.
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