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  • Coastline Forests, fertile plains and wild coasts
  • Coast Life Golfers, gourmands and wine toasts

Does a cab sauv in hand, sea lapping at your toes sound a tempting scene? Then make tracks for the floodplains and foothills of one of NZ’s fêted grape-growing regions.

This east-coast swathe of the North Island has got it all: a head-turning ocean setting, nostalgic 1920s architecture and a Mediterranean-style microclimate. Add nation-high sunshine levels and you’re probably packing your bags. Once your palate is pickled from all that wine sampling, uplift your soul with swimming and sailing in these South Pacific waters, or treat your eyes to a gulp of art deco towns Napier and Hastings. Chuck in golf, gastronomy or plain R&R and you should be assured that Hawke’s Bay brags it all.

Do go/Don’t go

Summers (November to February) are bright, warm and mellow, ideal for Hawke’s Bay’s outdoorsy way of life, and winters are temperate here too. Besides, even if it does rain, you can still go wine tasting.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com) operates domestic flights between Hawke’s Bay (Napier–Hastings) Airport (06 835 1130) and Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as flights to and from Oz. The airport is eight kilometres north of Napier, within easy reach of Hastings and Cape Kidnappers.
  • Boats Cruise vessels from companies such as Princess, Royal Caribbean and P&O often stop at the Port of Napier.
  • Automobiles This part of the North Island isn’t serviced by the Overlander train, so driving really is the only way to get around. The usual car hire suspects are based at Napier Airport, but driving from Auckland – about 450 kilometres away – is definitely the scenic option.
  • Taxis You’ll want to book cabs in either of the two larger towns: try Napier Taxis (06 835 7777) and Hastings Taxis (06 878 5055). The Hawke’s Bay region is large, though, so this isn’t really an economical way of getting around, unless you’re simply travelling back to your hotel after dinner.