Cycling Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

Amongst the favorite vacation destinations in New Zealand for locals and international visitors alike is The Hawke's Bay; the foremost food and wine destination of the country. It is regarded as paradise for food and wine lovers. This region is brimming with fine wine, fresh produce and gourmet dining options, which are major attractions to those visiting the region. Hawke's Bay is also renowned for its long hot summers and clear blue sky winter days. This area is one of the sunniest regions of New Zealand; a climate that infuses the region's gourmet food and award-winning wine. Hawke's Bay is one of the country's leading producers of wine; especially the red wines like merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and latterly syrah. However, it produces some quite lovely white varieties as well. Hawke's Bay has high sunshine hours, whereas humidity and rainfall and are low in the region. In fact, this area of New Zealand has the second highest rate of sunshine hours, and the lowest rainfall in the North Island. Therefore, no matter which time of the year you plan to visit, you are likely to experience sunny, dry weather; perfect for heading off upon an adventure in this wonderful region and indulging in its offerings. The fine wineries are not the only attraction in this illustrious place. Hawke's Bay is New Zealand's centre of Art Deco. A lot of the area was rebuilt in the 1930's after an earthquake left this area devastated. The Hawkes Bay also hosts one of the country's celebrations each year - Matariki i.e. the Maori New Year. A great time to visit is during these celebrations. Here you can shop at the farmers markets for locally grown delicacies, spoil yourself with artisan gourmet food and enjoy the Napier's Great Long Lunch. If you would like to add a bit of an adventure to your visit, then why not experience the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks or the fantastic beaches that run alongside the sandy coast?

Hawke's Bay also offers other outdoor activities to visitors. Try tandem paragliding from Te Mata Peak to get the adrenaline pumping or take a romantic hot air balloon flight over the region. You can also charter boat in the ocean, go fishing on a or try your hand at trout fishing on the banks of local rivers. With a wide variety of rivers, beaches and reefs, you can also enjoy diving, swimming and kayaking. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking and walking in the national parks, mountains or gorges of Hawke's Bay. Horse trekking is another great way to soak in the beautiful views on offer. Golfers can also enjoy a round at the region's premiered Cape Kidnappers golf course. Hawke's Bay offers different types of accommodations for all kinds of tourists and budgets; ranging from exclusive lodges and private cottages to local hotels, bed & breakfasts, camping grounds, and even home-stays for those wanting to really get amongst the locals. Some of the local wineries also offer rooms for guests, which is a romantic option for those looking for absolute privacy. Hawke's Bay has a fraternity of internationally and nationally celebrated artists who show their work in home studios and galleries throughout this region. An art guide covers around 50 galleries and studios, where art lovers can personally meet artists in their creative atmosphere and discover the creative side of New Zealand. Visit this region of art, wine and cuisine and be inspired.

Scenic Highlights:

Fabulous 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 1930s - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco - in such a concentrated area. And Napier's Art Deco is unique, with Maori 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. 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. Soak up the atmosphere in one of the many cafes and restaurants or dine alfresco amidst the vineyards, orchards and olive plantations, and there is often live music to enhance your experience.

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.

Activities:

- Watch the sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon, along with panoramic views of the Hawkes bay region.
- Enjoy wine tasting at over 30 vineyards, many with a cafe or restaurant
- Tour the city with a trained guide from the Art Deco Trust.
- Visit local artists and boutique wineries on the Kidnappers Escape Art, Food & Wine Trail
- Go on the Classic Sheepskins Tannery Tour
- Discover what farming life in New Zealand is really like with a farm tour
- Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of a traditional village market at the Farmers Market, held every Sunday.
- Explore Napier's Emerson shopping street, including Statements Gallery, to view original art work by local artists
- Visit the Te Mata House art gallery (next to Te Mata Winery) featuring superb pieces from several renowned NZ artisits
- View Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony, an accessible mainland gannet colony.
- Discover wine tasting via cycle around the many Hawkes Bay vineyards. Comes complete with a mobile phone so when its time to retire, just call for a pick up!
- Visit Arataki Honey - one of the largest bee-keeping enterprises in the Southern Hemisphere
- Climb up Te Mata Peak. Towering 400 metres above sea level, it offers panoramic views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru ranges and Cape Kidnappers
- See Clonkeen Caves - extensive limestone and glow-worm caves. Explore and see the stalactites, stalagmites, glow-worms and limestone formations
- Relax at Morere Hot Springs - hot pools set in a beautiful bush environment
- Try a Maori Cultural Tour. Overnight Marae stays are also an option