Hawkes Bay to Wellington

Page author

by Hertz AU - 27 November 2018

Starting in Hawkes Bay, pick up your Hertz rental car and get excited for the slower pace of life that a road trip through New Zealand’s North Island offers. Hawkes Bay is oneofNewZealand’s warmest, driest regions, and this has made it famous worldwide for being one of the country’s leading wine producers. Red wines in this region are a thing of beauty and prestige, witheverythingfromcabernetsauvignon,merlotandsyrah winning hearts and awards all over the world.

Hawkes Bay is the first stop on any New Zealand wine tour. There are a number of towns in Hawkes Bay to choose as your starting point. We recommend starting in Napier and bedding down for the night and exploring the vineyards by bicycle.

Stage 1: Napier

Napier is located on the North Island’s eastern coast and is a city that forms one part of what are known as “The Bay Cities”, or “The Twin Cities” – the other being Hastings. As well as being famous for wine, Napier is also renowned for being New Zealand’s Art Deco capital, having been rebuilt in the 1930s after an earthquake decimated the region. We recommend starting your day with a relaxing lunch on Napier’s Marine Parade. Following this, visit Hawke’s Bay Museum and see for yourself the spectacular intricacies of Māori art, ceramics, textiles, and more. End the day at the Ocean Spa on Marine Parade with its open-air heated pools built on the site of Napier’s original Hot Sea Water Baths. There are various leisure pools as well as a 25-metre pool. Get some laps in before relaxing and watching the sunset drape its warm, orange glow on the white cliffs of Cape Kidnappers.

Stage 2: Napier to Hastings

It would be rude to visit one twin without visiting the other – so hop in the car and head for Hastings, just a short drive away. On the way out of town, check out the National Tobacco Company building in Ahuriri, an exquisite example of Art Deco architecture. On the way to Hastings, you can visit several wineries and sample gourmet food from the locality. We recommend visiting Mission Estate, New Zealand’s oldest winery, established in 1851, making it the spiritual home of winemaking in New Zealand. It’s situated on the site of a former seminary building, nestled high on a plateau, which makes it feel really special. Here you can enjoy some tastings and treat yourself to a gift for later in the evening. Before hitting Hastings, drive out the coast to Te Awanga for lunch at Clearview Estate. Here you can sample some fantastic organic wines before tucking into a delicious lunch.

Stage 3: Hastings to Wellington

After lunch, jump in the car and begin the final leg of your trip by heading south towards Wellington. If you’re a rugby fan, head for Palmerston North, where you’ll find The Rugby Museum. The museum boasts a mesmerising collection of rugby memorabilia that reflects New Zealanders’ passion for the game. It’s a great insight into a proud rugby tradition. Jump back in the car and keep heading south where some 28 kilometres north of Masterton, you’ll find Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre, home to many of New Zealand’s endangered native birds, such as black stilts, North Island kōkako, saddleback and kiwis. A stop here is very worthwhile, as you’ll be surprised by just how unique and diverse New Zealand’s bird life is. Afterwards, continue south and you’ll drive past the Rimutaka Ranges and through Upper and Lower Hutt before arriving in New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington.

Last Stop: Wellington

Wellington is a compact city with a vibrant creative and culinary scene, surrounded by nature and some of the world’s best vineyards. Take time and enjoy the city’s vibe in the bohemian Cuba Quarter, or grab some ice cream and head for the water’s edge to soak up the sun. Wellington is filled with museums, galleries, nature reserves, as well as boasting a vibrant street culture. And when you’re tired and hungry, you’ll discover that Wellingtonians are masters of casual dining, with plenty of great restaurants, night markets and food trucks to satiate your appetite and fuel your weary bones.

This is a trip that will that will make you fall in love with New Zealand; as well as its warmth, wine, and wonderful people.

Whakahari! (Cheers!)

Page author

Article by Hertz AU

582 Posts