Havelock North is a small, prosperous village just five minutes southeast of Hastings. It has a decidedly more upscale feel than Hastings and is not a magnet for backpackers so much as for older visitors doing the wine and food trail in the region. The town centre features gourmet olive and cheese shops, boutiques, local art galleries, and see-and-be-seen cafés and restaurants.
Havelock North is situated at the base of impressive Te Mata Peak, said in Māori legend to be the body of a giant chief. The village is also the closest settlement to Cape Kidnappers, home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world.