If you don’t like good food, large quantities of wine and stunning views, you may want to consider spending your money on a new flat screen instead of a holiday. If, on the other hand, you’re drooling at the thought, Hastingsis a killer option and delivers it all without any attitude. Win!
Hastings is a little Kiwi gem on the east coast of the North Island. Located in the middle of Hawke’s Bay, it is home to over 65 wineries. Getting around to sample them all in a week or two is no easy task, but it’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it! To see something other than the bottom of a wine glass, visit Cape Kidnappers for the views and then drive out to Napieror Havelock Northfor the nightlife. And finally, rest your wine brain at Haumoana Farmyard.
HASTINGS’ TOP 10
10. Keirunga Park Railway This 850m (2,789ft) track is operated by the local steamers. Great views of a beautiful part of the country.
5. Splash Planet Fun Park 6.5 hectares of excitement at the biggest water park in NZ!
9. Beatles Museum If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll love this. If you’re not, you have no taste!
4. Hastings City Art Gallery Contemporary Kiwi art in a nice modern setting. Not to be missed.
8. Omahu Bird and Animal Park If you’re scared of things that can fly and run, give this one a miss.
3. Hawkes Bay Exhibition Centre You’ll find everything from travelling exhibitions to local Maori art here.
7. The Seahorse Farm Great for kids, but also offers a really interesting tour for the oldies.
2. Westerman’s Building Take a look at the terrazzo floors before starting your walking tour.
6. Te Mata Peak Take a camera or an easel – you won’t want to forget these views in a hurry.
1. Hawke’s Bay Opera House This cutie from 1910 recently had a total makeover and is looking better than ever.
The first Sunday of every month sees a celebration of local produce with the Poukawa Country Market.
August brings some good spirit into town with the Solid Gold Radiothon BBQ and Busking, which raises money for children’s charity.
September frightens off any attackers with the Rugby, Haka, Hāngī Festival. Locals treat visitors to a friendly game of rugby, lessons in how to do the haka and some traditional Māori food.
Elephant Hill Wine and Food Festival drinks its way into October, showing off what the area has to offer.
After 14 years, the Arts in the Park Haumoana Market Day is still going strong on the first Sunday in November.
WHEN TO GO
- Hastings is one of the warmest spots in NZ. The summers make it the country’s hottest urban area, with tops of over 30°C (86°F).
- Winters generally have a top of 20°C (68°F), with the breeze cooling the nights significantly.
- There is a low average rainfall here so you’d be pretty unlucky if your trip got washed out completely.
- If you’re after a good look around, and you should be, hiring a car is the best option. Some of the attractions are a fair distance apart, although many tour companies include transport.
- There are some nice places to stroll around, as well as some great walking tours, so going by shank’s pony is a great idea.
- Buses run around the city and cover Napier, Hastings and Havelock North for around $4 for a return trip.
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