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Hawkes Bay & Napier Must Do's
Hawkes Bay & Napier Campervan Road Trips
Hawkes Bay & Napier Travel Tips & Inspiration
Britz Campervan Branches
The drive from Auckland to Hawkes Bay will take you around between 5-6 hours, so you may like to plan a stop in Taupo halfway to take a break and explore what this area has to offer. Head straight down the island via SH1 for the fastest route, or take it at your own pace and explore all the uncovered highlights along the way.
The 12-hour drive from Britz Christchurch to Hawkes Bay takes you along the South Island’s scenic eastern coastline. Explore Kaikoura by taking a whale watch cruise before continuing north and taking the Interislander ferry across the Cook Strait. Once you reach the North island, spend some time exploring Wellington before heading on to Hawkes Bay.
The drive from Queenstown to Hawkes Bay is a big one that we recommend breaking down into a few days, so you can truly enjoy it and explore some of the epic local attractions along the way. Heading out of Queenstown, make stops at Arrowtown, Wanaka, Twizel, and Lake Tekapo, before heading towards the east coast and exploring Christchurch and Kaikoura.
Things To Do In Hawkes Bay
Known as the art deco capital of the world, Napier is made up of architecture that draws on the influences of the opulent jazz era. The city was completely rebuilt following a devastating earthquake that took place in 1931. A great way to experience the art deco flavour of Napier and transport yourself to another era is by taking an art deco tour. These guided tours are a great way to explore Napier and discover the history and influence of each unique style.
Hawkes Bay is famous for creating some of the most exceptional wines in New Zealand, especially if you’re in the market for a full-bodied red. Home to 72 vineyards and 30 cellar doors just waiting to be explored, it’s hard to say no to spending a day or two getting out there and sampling some local wines. The wineries we recommend are Church Road, Black Barn and Mission Estate.
Immerse yourself in the local Maori culture by embarking on a Māori cultural tour. Explore ancestral mountains, lands, and waters as you discover the history of the region. Napier Māori Tours offer a unique and inspirational experience that will provide you with information on the distinct Māori history as you visit a 650-year-old village surrounded by sweeping views of Hawkes Bay.
Sometimes referred to as the sleeping giant, Te Mata Peak provides epic sweeping views of the surrounding Hawkes Bay area and Heretaunga Plains. Travel through hundred-year-old redwoods and connect with the deep cultural relevance of this special location. Hosting a large network of walking tracks, take your pick on which way you explore this local icon.
Just a 40-minute drive out of Hastings, Cape Kidnappers is an incredible sandstone headline named by Captain Cook. Explore the area and the dramatic coastal views it provides whilst looking at one of the largest gannet colonies in the world. There are also some incredible walks nearby to get you fully immersed in this striking destination.
Helpful Tips for Visiting Hawkes Bay & Napier
Climate and Seasons in Hawkes Bay
Hawkes Bay is known for its temperate climate, neither too cold nor wet. Due to its location, Hawkes Bay is sheltered from the North Island’s main mountain ranges. With hot days during the summer, Hawkes Bay enjoys 2100-2200 hours of sunshine each year.
What to Pack
With generally great weather throughout the year, it’s important to pack outdoor activities for exploring Hawkes Bay.
- Outdoor gear… things like bikes and sturdy footwear are a must for this region. It’s important to be prepared for all kinds of weather, so make sure you pack some warmer layers and a rain jacket.
- Campervan add-ons… if you’re bringing a bike, the Auckland, Christchurch, or Queenstown branches offer bike rack hire, which you can add on when booking your trip.
- Sun protection… for all the sunny days you will be experiencing, be sure to pack sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
Nearby Attractions and Day Trips from Hawkes Bay
Shine Falls is one of the most amazing waterfalls on the North Island. Make a day of visiting this attraction by taking a nature walk to get there. Around 1.5 hours out of Napier, the Shine Falls track will take around 1.5 hours and lead you right to the base of the waterfall.