Central Hawke's Bay

Explore Central Hawke's Bay

Get off the beaten track and take a short drive south of Napier & Hastings to explore Central Hawke’s Bay. With some of the best beaches, fishing and diving spots, water sport, cycling, an incredible number of historic homesteads and so much more - there are plenty of reasons to stop and stay.

Central Hawke’s Bay runs from Pukehou and Otane in the north to Takapau in the south. If you head west you’ll find yourself at the foot of the Ruahine Ranges, home to some excellent walking and tramping tracks, a wander up to Sunrise Hut is a must.  To the east you’ll find six unique beaches, each offering a different experience from swimming, diving, fishing, or just a relaxing stay with a seaside view.

If adventure on the water is what you’re after this Summer then Backpaddocks Lakes in Takapau is a must do. The purpose built lakes mean you can get the boat out and get on the water for wakeboarding, water-skiing and barefooting, and as New Zealand’s only venue to offer both boat and cable park riding, anyone can have a go on the water from beginner to pro. Their summer season runs Labour Weekend to Easter and booking is essential – bring you own gear or hire equipment when you arrive.

Central Hawke's Bay is made up of a number of towns and smaller settlements founded by the early pastoralists who bought up great chunks of land here in the second half of the 1800's - that rich farming history can be explored with a stop at any one of our many historic homesteads some of which open their doors to visitors for overnight stays, high tea's and lunches.

Waipukurau is the biggest town and the agricultural hub of Central Hawke’s Bay. With a vibrant main street there's a great selection of local shops and cafes and is a perfect base to start day trips and get out and explore the area.  A visit to the local Information Centre located at the old Railway Station on Bogle Brothers Esplanade is the best way to start exploring and tap into some handy local knowledge. 

Waipawa is just a 5 minute drive northeast of Waipukurau and is home to some of Hawke’s Bays best rainbow and brown trout fishing spots. Dotted along the main street are a number of boutique shops and cafes, and you’ll also find the Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum which offers a nostalgic glimpse of life back in the day with lots of hands on experiences for young and old.  It is also the hub of The Limestone Loop – a driving route through Otane, Waipawa and Tikokino where you can chose the pace and cater for your tastes with offerings of wine, shopping, culture, cafes and history.

Whether you are on or off shore the spectacular Te Angiangi Marine Reserve, a whopping 138ha reef running from Blackhead Beach to Aramoana, means the kids can explore rock pools and sea life while you swim, dive, fish and snorkel along the coastline.

Stay on the coast road and head a little further south to discover the coastal settlement of Porangahau. Te Paerahi Beach, Porangahau’s main beach front, is home to a huge stretch of white sand, great for exploring on foot or horseback and is famed for its superb diving and fishing. While you’re there get a photo at one of the World’s longest place names just 6kms east of the township. Have a go at this - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu.

If you’re heading into Central Hawke’s Bay from State Highway 50 you’ll get a view of some of Hawke’s Bay’s most spectacular farmland. This is where a number of historic farm homesteads are situated and if you take a visit to the small town of Ongaonga you’ll discover a well preserved collection of original historic buildings.


For everything you need to know to experience the best of Central Hawke's Bay head into the Central Hawke’s Bay Visitor Information Centre in Waipukurau, you'll find them on Bogle Brothers Esplanade inside the old Railway Station building at the southern end of town, or give them a call on 06 8586488.

Central Hawke's Bay Bucket List 

Backpaddock Lakes Wake Board and Water Ski Park - give their Cable Ski a go, open Labour weekend through Easter

Get to some events during The Spring Fling every September & October - experience the best of Central Hawke's Bay this Spring.

Visit Taniwha Daffodils each September to see the Daffodils in bloom

The Little Easy on Good Friday or a cycle anytime on the Central Hawke’s Bay’s Rotary River Pathways which begin at Russell Park, Waipukurau

The Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers Museum for a nostalgic glimpse of life back in the day

Historic Homesteads to view in Central Hawke's Bay

Oruawharo Homestead, Takapau

Gwavas Garden and Homestead, Tikokino

Ashcott Homestead, Tikokino

Chapelwick Coastal Estate and Historic Chapel, Porangahau

Wallingford Station, Porangahau

Woburn Homestead, Waipukurau