Hastings is central to all the varied cultural and outdoor delights of Hawke’s Bay. The sea and Te Mata Peak surround the city, and a picturesque backdrop for historic Art Deco and Spanish Mission buildings. With its own opera house, several art galleries and studios, and a warm sunny climate, Hastings is the perfect place for a diverse experience of New Zealand life.
The climate and rich soils surrounding the city are perfect for growing grapes, stone fruit and vegetables, so gourmet dining is guaranteed. The Hawke’s Bay region is known for its red wines. You can visit vineyards, chocolate producers, strawberry and asparagus farms as you cycle the Hawke’s Bay food trail.
For those who prefer a hike, Te Mata Peak provides a stunning view over Hastings and the ocean. Ascend through ancient Redwood trees, gaze over valley wetlands, and enjoy the view from the peak, where from a clear day you can see right to the snow capped peaks of Mount Ruapehu. Join a Maori tour guide to enhance your visit to Te Mate Peak by learning the legend of the giant who tried to eat his way through these mountains.
There is a similar Maori creation myth for the area at Cape Kidnappers, which is said to be a jaw bone used to hook up New Zealand’s north island. It’s also home to the world’s largest mainland colony of gannets. You can take a tractor and trailer tour along the beach, with an incredible view of the cliffs, to the place where the spectacular sea birds nest and hunt.
The rare rainy day is an opportunity to tour the Hastings City Art Gallery, and museums in nearby Napier just over 10 miles (20 kilometers) away. Explore Napier’s Art Deco buildings to find antique bargains, and walk along the 1930s style boulevard by the sea.