Here’s our Top 5 reasons why we think cycling in Hawkes Bay should be on your bucket list.
Hawkes Bay on the north east coast of the New Zealand North Island is a stunning place, and has been a beneficiary of the New Zealand governments heavy investment in cycling infrastructure. The trails are mainly flat, with a seaside setting, and surrounded by wineries, farms, ocean views, teeming with birdlife and friendly locals, it’s almost the perfect place to cycle.
Here’s a snapshot of what it’s like to visit and go cycling in Hawkes Bay.
1. Getting To Hawkes Bay is Easy
Napier is the capital of the Hawkes Bay area, and is now easier than ever to reach, with Virgin, Air NZ and now Jetstar all offering flights into Napier airport. You can also jump on Qantas to Auckland or Wellington and connect from there.
New Zealand being as beautiful as it is, you might also consider driving. Napier is just over 400kms from Auckland and would make for a brilliant overnight drive with a stopover almost exactly halfway at Rotorua.
2. Napier is Unique
Napier is one of the world’s best examples of an art deco town, and is such an attractive place to visit, with a seaside charm all it’s own. On it’s own it’s a reason to visit Hawkes Bay and many do.
In February each year the town hosts a huge Art Deco festival which is a major event highlight on the calendar, and well worth attending (book early!).
3. The Hawkes Bay Cycling Trails Are Brilliant
We use the plural word “trails” as there are essentially three all weather trails that make up the Hawkes Bay cycling network. Covering 187kms in total, the trails are made up of:
- The Landscape Ride (56kms)
- The Water Ride (96kms), and
- The Wineries Ride (our favourite of course at 48kms).
As the names suggest, each trail offers a unique experience ranging from ocean views to visits to wildlife sanctuaries and the chance to visit some world class wineries.
The Hawkes Bay cycling trails are very well signposted and the surface ranges from paved seaside paths to hard packed gravel. There are a number of bike hire rental outlets around Napier and Hastings, and accommodation venues are easily accessible along the trails, but you do need to be organised as being a relatively small region and popular with travellers venues are regularly booked out.
We love this short clip that will give you a good idea of the beautiful cycling in Hawkes Bay:
4. The Food is World Class
Hawkes Bay has become a significant gourmet region of New Zealand. So much so that Hawkes Bay now also hosts their annual F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic, a series of food and wine events held over a week each year.
Napier and Hastings both host weekend markets, with the Hasting Sunday Farmers Market being the oldest Farmers Market in New Zealand. There is also the following food related markets on a regular basis in Hawkes Bay:
- Napier Urban Food Market: every Saturday from 9am – 1pm
- Hastings Night Market: Thursday 5 – 9pm in summer
- Black Barn Growers Market: Saturday mornings in summer
- Hastings City Market: also Saturday mornings 7 – 10am in summer
5. Hawkes Bay Wines are…Superb!
Hawkes Bay has over 100 vineyards with over 80 accessible cellar doors, and surprisingly for many is New Zealand’s second biggest wine growing region. Predominantly know for its Bordeaux style reds, recent seasons have seen further diversification in styles particularly into aromatic whites (Chardonnay, Sav Blanc and Pinto Gris) and Shiraz/Syrah.
In October 2014, the Hawkes Bay region picked up 10 out of 63 available Gold Medals at the New World Wine Awards. Hawke’s Bay’s Vidal Estate also won the highly regarded Air New Zealand Champion Wine of the Show for its Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay.
6. The Weather in Hawkes Bay is Sunny!
No holiday can be planned without reference to the local weather, especially if you’re like us and want to explore the great outdoors. Hawkes Bay is a predominantly sunny region, enjoying an average of 2,188 hours of sunshine each year (which is high). Of course being in New Zealand, it can get cold and wet in winter, and sometimes windy being a coastal region, but it’s coastal locale also tempers the hear of summer and extends the warmer months.
If you haven’t already, Hawkes Bay in New Zealand should be on our bucket list as a must place to visit soon. Tour de Vines has a 5 day and 3 day guided and self guided cycling tour in Hawkes Bay. Call 1300 665 330 to find out more.