Top 7 Autumn Activities in Hawke's Bay

Hawke's Bay is one of the most fantastic regions to behold colour-wise, food-wise and wine-wise this autumn. Orchards and vineyards turn brilliant shades of yellow, orange and red with an incredible backdrop of blue skies.

The bright sunlight of the southern hemisphere vividly conveys the natural transformation of seasonal colours with a buffet of fabulous autumn activities to choose from.

From harvest wine tours, vibrant street art and galleries, to relaxing and rejuvenating your mind, body and spirit with a day at the spa, autumnal activities abound in Hawke’s Bay.

Here are our top 7 activities during the harvest season.

1) Do a harvest wine tour

From mid-March through April and May, Hawke's Bay is abuzz with the annual grape harvest, harvesting (literally) tonnes of grapes across the region to turn into sumptuous red and delicious white wines. Autumn is a critical time of the year in Hawke’s Bay, with loads going on in the wine industry and harvesting occurring across all of the big growers including apples and pears. If you’ve been thinking about doing a wine tour in one of New Zealand's premier wine regions, autumn is the time to do it.

Check out the Food & Wine Tours for a fun and flexible way to experience the rural winery gems of Napier, Hastings and beyond. Or curate your own tour from the 70+ wineries in and around Hawke's Bay!

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Elephant Hill vineyard and winery in Autumn, photograph by Michael Farr.

2) Pedal through an autumnal paradise

Over the golden months of March, April and May, you can pedal around various cycle trails between Napier, Hastings, Havelock North and Central Hawke's Bay with the countryside awash with colour. The trails aren’t as crowded and there are plenty of places to stop and have coffee or even a glass of wine. Leisurely winding your way around the flat and gentle trails is the perfect way to spend a balmy autumn afternoon in Food and Wine Country!

Head over to The Cycling Guide and pick your path.

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Cyclist's overlooking Tukituki valley, photograph by Kirsten Simcox.

3) Explore the street art and art galleries

Hawke's Bay plays host to a vibrant street art and art gallery scene, with a community of emerging and successful artists producing incredible work. Grab a ‘Sea Walls’ map from the Napier i-Site Visitors Centre, which shows you all mural locations, and check out these amazing and thought-provoking pieces of street art throughout the Napier CBD and the old port village of Ahuriri. Napier has a  buffet of art galleries including the MTGCAN (Creative Arts Napier), Muse Gallery, Boyd Dunlop Gallery, Red Peach and The Art Shed, to name a few. You can also gorge on art in Hastings with the Hastings City Art Gallery, Arts Inc. Heretaunga, Parlour Projects, and the Hastings Community Arts Centre.

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Sea Walls mural, photograph by Brook Sabin.

4) Forage at the Farmers Markets

Celebrate fresh, seasonal, local food by heading down to the Hawke's Bay Farmers’ Market every Sunday morning from 9 am - 1 pm. Napier Urban Farmers’ Market is a little smaller but still bursting with delicious produce and local artisanal products on a Saturday morning. The Farmers’ Markets play a fundamental role in our nation’s food system, and amidst a global pandemic, it's more important than ever that these markets are treasured as hubs for connection and their ability to bring people together!

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Autumn produce at The Hawke's Bay Farmers Market, photograph by Kirsten Simcox.

5) Enjoy the foodie scene

If you're a foodie and you're in Food and Wine Country, you've come to the right place. With some of New Zealand’s best restaurants, world-class wineries, and an abundance of fresh produce, it's fair to say food is in our DNA. Te Mata Figs are starting their season with fresh figs galore and a delicious all-things-fig cafe. Or travel south for an overnight journey in Hawke's Bay's hinterland for an exceptional eight-course degustation at Wallingford's historic homestead in Central Hawke's Bay - "some of the best food you will try" according to travel writer Brook Sabin.

Check out The Food Guide for more foodie spots to visit in Hawke's Bay!

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Te Mata Figs grow around 30 varieties of fresh figs, photograph by Brook Sabin.

6) Try the fresh apple cider

Hawke's Bay is responsible for almost 70% of New Zealand's apple exports,and is home to some of the best cideries in the country too! Why not give The Filter Room in Meanee and Three Wise Birds in Hastings a try for size. Both cider spots offer a garden bar, idyllically located amongst apple trees and feature seasonal ciders on the tap, local craft beers and wines and some of the best live musicians in the Bay during the weekend.

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Three Wise Birds tasting tray, photograph by Kirsten Simcox

7) Relax and rejuvenate

Savour the very best of Hawke's Bay hospitality at premier day spas, accommodation and natural environments. Relax and rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit with an appointment at The Spa at Cape Kidnappers, offering a range of services from premium facials to full body scrub and massages. If you have time, why not top it off with a visit to the Farm at Cape Kidnappers Dining Room with some of the very best cuisine in Food and Wine Country. If you have some time up your sleeve, head up to Morere Hot Springs, set amongst a gorgeous native rainforest. Known for its therapeutic values, the natural ancient seawater comes from deep underground and is piped to a series of public and private hot pools.

Check the listing links for open hours.

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The Spa at Cape Kidnappers, photograph supplied.


The Accommodation Guide

The What's On Guide

Cycle Tours & Bike Hire

The Organic Wine Guide

10 Scenic Cycling & Hiking Trails

Check alert level restrictions and Ministry of Health advice before travel.