This region on the North Island’s east coast is the source of much of the country’s fresh produce, and for many travellers the region’s major attraction is the abundance of casual fruit picking work, particularly around Hastings.
The other main attraction for visitors is the region’s architecture. The twin cities of Napier and Hastings were severely damaged by a 1931 earthquake and rebuilt in the latest style of the day – Art Deco – leaving the two cities, particularly Napier, with some of the world’s best intact examples of the style. There are several distinctive Spanish Mission buildings as well.
Hawkes Bay is one of New Zealand’s major wine producing regions, particularly reds, and food and wine tourism is a big drawcard for the area. There are more than 40 wineries, several farmers’ markets, and fine dining options throughout the region. Havelock North is a prosperous country village in the heart of the wine producing region.
The climate here is sunny and dry – tourism officials like to call it “Mediterranean” – and there are good beaches and outdoor activities as well. A gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers is a big hit with bird watchers.