Discover Napier, Hawke's Bay

A vibrant food and wine culture, great biking and the world's largest mainland gannet colony make Hawke's Bay a compelling place to visit.

In Hawke's Bay you'll find some of the best wineries in New Zealand, perfect terrain and weather for refreshing outdoor adventures, and cultural encounters that bring history to life. Added to this is an abundance of delicious local produce, which has generated a delectable range of cafés and restaurants. Whether you base yourself in Napier, Hastings or Havelock North, a Hawke's Bay holiday promises to be gloriously indulgent.

About our flights to Napier

Air New Zealand operates daily non-stop flights to Napier from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, with connections across the New Zealand domestic network. With all our New Zealand domestic airfares you can choose seat, seat+bag, flexichange or flexirefund fare types. Flexichange gives you the flexibility to change your flight with no change fees while flexirefund is fully refundable. Find out more about our New Zealand domestic seat options.

Pedal from place to place in Hawke's Bay, blissed out by the ocean views and rolling landscapes covered in battalions of grapevines.

Where to go and what to see in Napier and Hawke's Bay

You'll need some form of transport to get around all the fun things to do in Napier and Hawke's Bay. We recommend hiring a car or making arrangements with one of the many private tour operators. Biking is also an option, though maybe for just one or two days - while Hawke's Bay is relatively flat, distances aren't small. Napier to Gimblett Gravels and Bridge Pa wine districts, is a journey of 25 kilometres.

Riding the Hawke's Bay Trails

There's no better way to find Hawke's Bay attractions and immerse yourself in a landscape than pedalling a bike, slowly taking in the sights, smells and sounds with no barriers between you and nature. With more than 200km of easy-riding trails, you can enjoy a delightful day sampling local world-class wines and restaurants while working on your fitness. As you ride from place to place, you'll be blissed out by distant ocean views and rolling landscapes covered in battalions of grapevines.

Follow the Hawke's Bay biking map and either take a set trail or free-flow to wherever you want to go. Along the way, you'll discover historically significant sites; part of the Māori and colonial past.

Be sure to pause at the Ōtātara Pā to explore the historic Maori settlement. Another good stop is Roy's Hill Restoration Reserve, with its tracks and native plantings. For bird watching, visit the Ahuriri Estuary and Waitangi Regional Park.

If you have young children, the Tukituki Trail in Central Hawke's Bay is a short flat ride along the top of the riverbank. It ends at a playground with a great place for a picnic and swim. For older kids, there are other trails in the area that lead to a cycle skills track and a BMX park to blow off some steam. More about outdoor adventures in Hawke's Bay.

Hawke's Bay wineries and restaurants

Do you like long lunches amidst lovely landscapes? Or maybe a hearty dinner in a gastropub alongside the locals? Known for its Mediterranean climate, the bay has hot summers and mild winters that are just perfect for growing wine and a huge range of delicious produce.

There are wineries dotted right across the plains; all up there are more than 30 cellar doors to discover. Ask a local for their favourites, or make the Mission Estate Winery your starting point. This elegant property was established by French missionaries in 1851. For a special occasion or a divine retreat, book into Craggy Range for a couple of days. The winery has luxurious cottages that you can rent, all with stupendous close-up views of Te Mata Peak, and the two-hat restaurant does an amazing job of showcasing local produce.

The burgeoning Hawke's Bay restaurant scene ensures there are plentiful choices for delicious food in relaxed surroundings. Central Fire Station, one of the best restaurants in Napier, boasts two-hats and has a stellar reputation for elevating fresh local produce and a 100% local wine list. Other highly-reviewed possibilities include Mister D and Pacifica.

Make sure you get to a farmers' market to sample and buy local artisan food products. The Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market - held on Sunday morning at Hawke's Bay Showgrounds, Kenilworth Rd - has been in operation for 21 years. And Napier Urban Farmer's Market is on every Saturday morning in the heart of the city. You'll find fresh produce, baking, bread and a range of amazing specialty products. Try lemon honey mulled cider to warm you on a winter's morning or seasonal fruit ice creams on hot summer days.

If you love enjoying wine and food in amazing locations, the twice-yearly F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic, held in June and November, celebrates Hawke's Bay's culinary credentials with 60+ unique dining experiences. More about food and wine in Hawke's Bay.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers isn't as dangerous as it sounds.

Originally known as Te Kauwae-a-Māui (the jawbone of Māui), it takes its name from the story of Māui fishing up the North Island of New Zealand (Te Ika-a-Māui), using his grandmother's jawbone as his hook.

The curve of the cape represents the hook, while another name for the wider Hawke's Bay region area is Te Matau-a-Māui (the fish hook of Māui).

Cape Kidnappers would later be named as such in commemoration of an incident during Captain Cook's 1769 voyage when Māori traders are said to have seized Cook's Tahitian cabin boy who they thought was being held against his will. When Cook's men fired on the Māori canoe, the cabin boy escaped and returned to the ship.

Aside from that, the area has a peaceful past and is now known for its picturesque nature-sculpted cliffs and large gannet colony. The colony has a population of 20,000 in peak times, ensuring there's always an aerial display going on. You can view the gannets from September to April by travelling through picturesque farmland with Gannet Overland Safaris.

For birdies of the golfing kind, Cape Kidnappers has the 17th greatest golf course in the world, according to Golf Digest. The par-71 course has stunning, highly-distracting views and its 15th hole is one of the most dramatic golf challenges you'll ever encounter. You can stay locally at The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, a luxury lodge set on 6,000 acres of lush green fields.

From rubble and ruins, an art deco delight

In 1931, Napier city was hit by a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake, one of the worst natural disasters in New Zealand's history. Following the quake, all the destroyed buildings were rebuilt in the style of the time - Art Deco. Napier also did away with prohibition and shirked the Great Depression, building a stylish city of geometric shapes, clean lines and vibrant colours.

Today, Napier revels in its amazing architecture. The city hosts an Art Deco Festival every February that's attended by Art Deco enthusiasts from all over the world. Women dress up in kitten heels with tee-straps and the dropped-waist dresses that are typical of the era. Men look dapper in suits with wide lapels and wingtip shoes. If you're heading to Napier to revel in Art Deco, don't forget that hats are the exclamation point for any outfit.

If you're not in Napier at festival time, you can take an Art Deco city tour in a vintage car. It lifts Napier sightseeing to a whole new level. For maximum Art Deco impact, stay in the iconic Art Deco Masonic Hotel; its exterior hasn't been altered since it was rebuilt following the earthquake in 1932. More about history, art and culture in Hawke's Bay.

Top 10 things to do in Hawke's Bay

1. Immerse yourself in Art Deco Napier

Completely rebuilt in the Art Deco style, following the devastating 1931 earthquake and fire, the heart of Napier is a unique showcase of the period's distinctive architecture and design. It's not just one or two buildings - the entire CBD is like a permanent 1930s movie set.

2. Tour Hawke's Bay wineries and cellar doors

With more than 70 wineries and 30 cellar doors to choose from, Hawke's Bay is a wine lover's paradise. Book a guided Napier wineries tour, cycle the vineyards or simply drop into The Urban Winery in Napier to taste chardonnay from Tony Bish and some of the best wineries in Hawke's Bay.

3. Ride Hawke's Bay cycle trails

Hire a bike or e-bike and hit the Napier cycle trails, cruise the waterfront, nip around to the harbourside bars and restaurants at Ahuriri, or pedal on for a tasting and lunch at New Zealand's first winery, Mission Estate.

4. Meet the birds with Gannet safaris

At Cape Kidnappers, the world's largest gannet colony sits on top of towering white cliffs. Here you can stand within a few metres of the nesting birds and watch as they fly in and out of the colony with amazing skill.

5. Shop at the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market

This festive Sunday morning Hastings farmer's market has been operating for more than 17 years. A true farmers' and artisans' market, everything is grown and produced in Hawke's Bay. Come for a coffee and a bite to eat, pick up some wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables, or shop for handcrafted gifts.

6. See the view from Te Mata Peak

Towering above the plains below, Te Mata peak in the Havelock North district is so much more than an impressive landmark. It's culturally significant to local Māori and an important part of Hawke's Bay's history. You can drive or walk to the top for spectacular views in every direction.

7. Visit Lake Waikaremoana

This picturesque lake is in Te Urewera National Park, a vast area of pristine native forest and the ancestral home of Tūhoe people. By booking huts or camping sites managed by the Department of Conservation, you can hike the three-to-four-day Waikaremoana Track - it's one of New Zealand's Great Walks.

8. Relax on Hawke's Bay beaches

With 360km of beautiful coastline, Hawke's Bay is a paradise for visitors who love sun, sand and surf. Favourites include Waipatiki Beach, Westshore Beach, Napier's foreshore, Ocean Beach, Kairakau Beach, Pourerere Beach and Blackhead Beach.

9. Explore Central Hawke's Bay homesteads

Beautifully restored, furnished from the mid-1800s and set in magnificent gardens, historic homesteads offer a perfect setting for everything from high tea to special occasions. Check out Oruawharo, Wallingford and Gwavas while you're driving around central Hawke's Bay. 

10. Tee off at Cape Kidnappers Golf Course

Set in a beautiful ridge-and-valley landscape on a clifftop  above the ocean, this remarkable Tom Doak par 71 course comes with immense sea views from every hole. With some fairways bordering deep ravines and nerve-tingling cliff-top bunkers, Cape Kidnappers is a bucket-list golf challenge.

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Essential information

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Best time to visit Napier and Hawke's Bay

Any season is a good time to visit Napier and the Hawke's Bay region. It's busiest over summer, especially during the Christmas and New Year period, so consider spring and autumn if you want to have more space. While winter is cooler (average of 11°C), the attractions are just as enjoyable and you'll find off-peak rates for most accommodation.

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How much will it cost

This will depend on your tastes and what you want to do. As a rough guide, not including air travel and hotels, you should allow about NZD $100 to $150 a day per person for food and entertainment.

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Taiwanese passport holders do not need a visa to visit New Zealand for less than 3 months. Other passport holders please see the visa-waiver list here.

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Cheap flights to Napier, Hawke's Bay

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Auckland (AKL) to Napier, Hawke's Bay (NPE)

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Wellington (WLG) to Napier, Hawke's Bay (NPE)

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Christchurch (CHC) to Napier, Hawke's Bay (NPE)

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Ōtātara pā image courtesy of Suden Lakshmanan; Cape Kidnappers golf course image courtesy of the Farm at Cape Kidnappers; Vintage cars image courtesy of Art Deco Trust