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The Gorgeous Creatures family moved to Taradale, Napier in 2019, we wish we had moved sooner, and have never looked back. Napier is a wonderful place to live, and to visit.
Over the summer months, Kirsty & Anil both drive tours part-time for Hawkes Bay Scenic tours - a mix of scenic or wine & beer tours with some Art Deco as well. As tourist visitor hosts, we have learned a lot about this great New Zealand region. We will be adding articles and reviews to this page as we find inspiration, or secret hidden surprises.
Hawke's Bay boasts a spectacular landscape that leaves visitors in awe. From rugged coastlines to sweeping vineyard-covered hills, or pretty orchards, the region's scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. Te Mata Peak, an iconic natural landmark, offers panoramic views that will leave you spellbound. Look down on beautiful Craggy Range Winery. Gorgeous Creatures always take our out-of-town visitors here. From the top of Te Mata Peak, you can see all the way to Mt Ruapehu on a clear day.
The Tukituki River, winding through picturesque valleys at the foot of Te Mata Peak, is a part of the scenic tour. The Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony is another must-see, where thousands of seabirds call these dramatic cliffs home.
Napier, one of the main cities in Hawke's Bay, is renowned for its Art Deco architecture. After a devastating earthquake in 1931, the city was rebuilt in the Art Deco style, and today it stands as one of the best-preserved Art Deco cities in the world. Strolling through the streets is like stepping back in time to an era of glamour and sophistication.
Visit the Art Deco Trust shop, and be sure to watch the 20 minute movie about the Napier earthquake (a small fee applies NZ$5). The MTG Museum has an amazing Earthquake exhibition in the basement. Allow enough time to sit and watch the "survivor stories" a looping movie that interviews people who lived through the earthquake - it is amazing!
Don't miss out on the Art Deco Festival that happen every February. Hastings City is only a 15-20 minute drive from Napier, and also has a lot of Art Deco architecture and history.
This region is steeped in Māori culture, and Hawkes Bay visitors have the chance to engage with the rich history and traditions of the indigenous people of New Zealand. The MTG Museum in Napier has a well presented and extensive display of Māori culture on the ground floor.
The Ōtātara Pā Historic Reserve site is one of the oldest and largest Māori Pa's in the North Island. There is a lovely but very steep walk up over the hill. Due to the tapu (sacred) nature of this site please do not eat on site, and no dogs are allowed. Located at Springfield Road, Taradale just past the bridge on the right (if coming from Taradale).
One of our favourite places to take visitors from overseas, is the Ātea a Rangi celestial star compass at Waitangi Regional Park. This is a visual depiction of a star map, in the form of wooden carved posts. These carved posts, or Pou are used to teach, and explain how early Pacific Island ocean mariners used the stars to navigate around the Pacific Ocean, eventually finding their way to New Zealand. Waitangi Regional Park 363 State Highway 2, Awatoto, Clive 4102.
Napier and Hastings also boasts some rare Māori Art Deco design elements on some Art Deco buildings, these are very unique to New Zealand. Check out the ASB Bank building in Napier City, be sure to look inside (it has a glass frontage so you can see any time) and look up at the interior ceiling.
Hawke's Bay's reputation as New Zealand's wine capital is well-deserved. The warm, temperate climate is ideal for vineyards, and the region is famous for its award-winning wines, particularly its Chardonnay and Syrah. Hawkes Bay has recently become the world’s 12th ‘great wine capital’, the first region in New Zealand to achieve this accolade.
Visiting one of the many wineries is an absolute must. You would need several weeks to cover off all the amazing wineries and breweries.
The fertile land of Hawke's Bay produces an abundance of fresh produce, and this is reflected in its vibrant culinary scene. Farm-to-table dining experiences are commonplace, with a strong emphasis on locally sourced ingredients.
Indulge in mouthwatering dishes at one of the many restaurants, or explore farmers' markets where you can sample the region's bounty directly from the source. Most wineries have a lovely selection of food to enjoy while you sample the Hawkes Bay regions wine selection.
In conclusion, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, is a captivating destination that offers a blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and culinary delights. Whether you're a wine enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking a stunning natural landscape, Hawke's Bay has something to offer every traveller. It's a place where the best of New Zealand comes together, creating an unforgettable experience for all who visit.
While in the Hawkes Bay be sure to visit Gorgeous Creatures (by appointment ph 027 222 6230).