9 summer must do's in Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is the ideal summer destination for all you sun and adventure chasers. After all, what’s not to love? With 30+ cellar doors to visit, superb beaches, striking waterfalls and the ever-iconic Te Mata Peak, there’s so much to see and do while you’re here.

1. Explore Shine Falls
Those with an adventurous spirit will be right at home with a visit to Shine Falls. Considered one of New Zealand's most spectacular waterfalls (if we do say so ourselves), you can discover this 58m-tall beauty after a 1hour drive north of Napier. Make sure you pack your walking shoes and have your drink bottle in hand, as you will need to walk along the 1.5hour return track that leads to the base of the waterfall. You’ll pass farmland and towering sandstone bluffs, plus there are a few uphill sections and safe stream crossings on the way. Trust us, the trip will be well worth it after seeing the falls.

Shine Falls

Shine Falls

2. Taste your way around the wineries
Arguably Hawke’s Bay's most well-known feature is our reputation as a world-class wine destination. Across Hawke’s Bay you’ll find 35 cellar doors waiting for your visit. From Merlot Cabernet to Chardonnay (plus so many more), the region packs quite the punch for wine lovers. Prefer a self-guided experience? You can easily navigate your way around wine country with a wine map, highlighting all the must-visit locations. If you would rather relax and let others guide the way, we have plenty of local experts offering a range of tour options to suit your preferences. The hardest part of it all will be knowing where to start!

Oak Estate, Bridge Pa

3. Take a roadie to Mahia
Mahia is a relaxed, family-friendly paradise set in northern Hawke's Bay's stunning Wairoa District. Mahia township has a permanent population of around 500 people - a number that swells in summer as bachs, holiday homes and campgrounds fill up with people seeking the sun, surf and serenity that the region is famous for. There is plenty to do in the area including golf, tramping and hiking, fishing and surfing, while nearby Morere is home to the famous natural hot springs.

Mahia beach, looking towards Mokotaki Hill and lookout

4. Attend a summer event
Here in Food and Wine Country, events are just the ticket to experiencing more of what our region has to offer. With outstanding events on offer across every weekend of summer, you'll find it's always a good time to plan your Hawke's Baycation.

Black Barn OpenAir Cinema

5. Cool off at Waimarama beach
There are so many benefits to being a coastal region and one of them is our sprawling, spectacular beaches. Do it like the locals do, and head out to Waimarama for day soaking up the surf, sun and sand. The seemingly endless stretch of golden sand means it’s ideal for walking, jogging, swimming, sandcastle-building, surfing, picnicking and fishing. Kids will also be well-entertained with a fully-equipped playground next to the Surf Lifesaving Club. A trip to Waimarama beach wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the local for an ice cream at the end of the day.

Waimarama beach, with Motu o Kura (Bare Island) in the background

6. Climb Te Mata Peak
One of Hawke’s Bay’s most-visited spots, Te Mata Peak affords a 360-degree view of the region from its summit. You’ll be able to spot Napier and Mahia Peninsula to the north, hill country to the south and the Ruahina, Kaweka and Maungaharuru ranges beyond the fertile Heretaunga Plains. Rising 399m above sea level, the Peak is steeped in Maori legend and is known as the ‘Sleeping Giant’. We think the best way to experience the Peak is by walking to the top! With a range of walking tracks ranging from easy to advanced, you will be able to enjoy the climb at your own pace and fitness level.

Walking to the summit of Te Mata Peak

7. Discover Central Hawke’s Bay
If you're wanting to shake up your itinerary, why not explore the hidden Hawke’s Bay? Take a drive 45 minutes' south of Hastings to discover a slower-paced lifestyle. Boasting outstanding and relatively untouched beaches, fishing and diving spots, historic homesteads, wineries, and towns with plenty of character, there’s plenty of activities to keep you entertained during your visit. If you've got a bike handy, they have the excellent and easy-riding Tukituki Trail as well as some top-notch mountain bike parks.

Kairakau Beach Central Hawkes Bay

Kairakau Beach, Central Hawke's Bay

8. Saddle up on the Hawke's Bay Trails
Exploring Hawke’s Bay’s epicurean landscape by bike is a must-do experience. The Hawke’s Bay Trails boast nearly 200km of flat, easy-riding cycle trails throughout the region. Explore local delights including award-winning wineries, unique cafés, quaint country pubs and artisan outlets. Or simply take in the expansive ocean views, stunning landscapes and iconic features along the way.

Cycling the Cape Coast on the Hawke's Bay Trails

9. Savour some Hawke's Bay produce
Hawke's Bay is a growing and producing heavyweight. Perhaps even the heavyweight champion of New Zealand? It's no surprise then that we're also home to some of New Zealand's finest restaurants - urban, rural and winery. Do yourself a favour, and get along to one (or more!) of our fine establishments to see what all the fuss is about. You can thank us later. Or if you'd prefer, grab the fresh produce from one of our legendary farmers' and growers' markets, and cook up your own masterpiece.

Exquisite dining at St Georges Restaurant