Hastings City Guide
Hastings is known as the 'fruit bowl' of New Zealand and is home to a multitude of orchards, wineries and beautifully landscaped parks and gardens which flourish in the Hawkes Bay climate. Hastings is a showcase for fine examples of Art Deco and of Spanish Mission-style architecture, largely built after the 1931 Hawkes Bay earthquake.
Hastings is an ideal base to explore and enjoy Hawke's Bay's wine country attractions. For the adrenalin junkie just take your pick. Paragliding, hot air ballooning, jet skiing, caving, mountain biking - and more.
Hugging the coastline of the sparkling Pacific Ocean on the North Island's East Coast, Hawke's Bay is arguably one of New Zealand's warmest regions with summer temperatures (November-April) ranging from 20 degrees C to 35 degrees C and mild winters (June-September) averaging 15 degrees C. Hawke's Bay's two main centres, Napier and Hastings make up the bulk of the province's population, and are only 20km apart.
Hawkes Bay is a region rich in history. In 1931 Napier and Hastings were struck by an earthquake, then rebuilt in a style that placed them at the centre of 'moderne' era fashion. Today you can absorb the splendour of Art Deco and Spanish Mission Buildings that make the region one of the most unique architectural centres in the world. Hastings is known as the 'fruit bowl' of New Zealand as its widespread environs are home to a multitude of orchards and wineries. The fruit and wine industry is perfectly matched with the consistently warm climate the Hawke's Bay region is known for. Hastings is a showcase for fine examples of Spanish Mission-style architecture, largely built after the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.
The West Mall in the centre of town is the venue for regular community performances, fairs and public art works such as Haukunui, a terracotta flow form sculpture which stands alongside the landmark Hastings Clock Tower. Hastings is renowned for its beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, which flourish in the Hawke's Bay climate and soil. The city also has over 6,000 street trees, including the magnificent and historic Oak Avenue.
In Hastings Frimley Park is one of the Districts finest parks, providing a magnificent circular rose garden with more than 5,500 roses. The park also has a wide variety of rare and beautiful plants and shrubs and a unique layout, reminiscent of an old English garden. Specimen trees some of which are the largest or rarest in the Southern Hemisphere are registered with the National Notable register. Cornwall Park spreads over 8 hectares in an English village green environment. It has a variety of colourful gardens and trees and is a favourite picnic spot. Situated on the edge of Cornwall Park is the authentic Chinese Osmanthus Garden. Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the sister city relationship with Guilin, PR China. This garden consists of Chinese style ponds, pavilions, bridges and flora. Oak Avenue is one of the scenic features of Hastings. Planted in the 1860s as a driveway to one of Hastings original homesteads, the trees leave a rich legacy enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Just south of Hastings, near Havelock North is Te Mata Peak, a popular vantage point to capture the beautiful sights and rugged landscape which surrounds Hawke's Bay. Te Mata Peak rises 399 metres above sea level and dominates the fertile Heretaunga Plains. For the most spectacular views in the Napier/Hastings area, drive up Te Mata Peak and look over fertile orchards and market gardens, the Tuki Tuki River Valley, hill country farms, rolling hills of geological interest with the Ruahine Mountains as a backdrop.
According to Maori legend Te Mata hillscape is a sleeping giant, with the hill being the body of Maori Chief, Te Mata O Rongokako. Rongokako, a giant of a man, preyed upon the Heretaunga. The Heretaunga Chiefs daughter was very beautiful and after seeing her, he decided to woo rather than make war. She set him many seemingly impossible tasks, which he accomplished until she told him to eat his way through the hill. The giant began to plough his way through the hill but choked on a large rock and dropped to the ground where he still lies today.
Beyond Te Mata Peak are several beautiful beaches and the famous Cape Kidnappers, home of the most accessible gannet colonies in the world. Nothing will quite prepare you for the experience that awaits at Cape Kidnappers, home to one of the largest most accessible mainland Gannet colonies in the world. Administered by the Department of Conservation, this area presents a special opportunity to observe the Gannet (takapu) in its natural environment. Close up. The Gannet, a member of the Booby family, is related to the families of shags, pelicans and frigate-birds. Adult Australasian Gannets have a wing span of up to 2 metres and an average weight of 2kgs. Whilst ungainly on land, these birds are designed for graceful flying and diving from great heights into the sea to catch fish. As the birds are migratory, the first trip for the new chicks is to Australia where they stay for 2 ï¿½ 3 years before they return to New Zealand to live. There are a variety of tours available to the Gannets ï¿½ along the beach, safari overland or walking. The season at Cape Kidnappers runs between September and late April. The best time for viewing the Gannets is between early November and late February. The first chicks hatch in the first week of November and the last chicks depart the colony during May for their migration to Australia.