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 District�s 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
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 Chief�s 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 � 3 years
before they return to New Zealand to live. There are a
variety of tours available to the Gannets � 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.