Havelock North is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems. Located in the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand’s North Island, the town often gets overlooked by bigger, more popular tourist destinations like Napier and Hastings.

We’re here to change that.

We absolutely love Havelock North and as well as being a great gateway to some of those more popular Hawke’s Bay destinations, you will find so many things to do in Havelock North that you might not want to leave!

Havelock North feels like you’re at home away from home. It has a great small-town vibe going on with small, locally run shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants and all of them are so welcoming it will feel like you lived here all your life.

Havelock North is also located in close proximity to some of New Zealand’s best wineries, stunning beaches, beautiful gardens, and some pretty cool art galleries.

So, without further ado, sit back, strap yourself in and check out 11 of the best things to do in Havelock North.

1.      Climb Te Mata Peak

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the number one thing to do in Havelock North is to climb to the summit of Te Mata Peak. From here, you will get some of the best views of Hawke’s Bay from an elevation of 399m (1,309ft).

We recommend hiking it to the top if you have the energy for it, however, this place is super family-friendly so if you have little people or older people with you and the walk is too much, you can drive and park at the top and get to enjoy the stunning views together.

If you are an early bird, there is nothing quite like sitting atop Te Mata Peak at sunrise. The Hawke’s Bay region is one of the first places in the world to see the sunrise and we can think of no finer place to catch the dawn of a new day than sitting with your family and friends at Te Mata Peak.

2.      Birdwoods Gallery

Whilst we think that Te Mata Peak is the number one attraction in Havelock North, the good people of Trip Advisor disagree! They actually put Birdwoods Gallery as the number one activity in Havelock North and it’s easy to see why.

Birdwoods Gallery is the perfect way to discover the unique styles and tastes of the Hawke’s Bay region. From magnificent open-air sculptures to textiles and photographic canvasses on display in the gallery, Birdwoods Gallery is a great place to spend a couple of hours.

Located just 3kms from Havelock North, Birdwoods Gallery is also a great place to grab some morning tea and their café and attached sweet shop attract people from all around the region. In the summer months, you can round off your visit with one of the amazing real fruit ice-creams.

3.      Arataki Honey Visitor Centre


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Finally, one we can all agree upon. The Arataki Honey Visitor Centre is right up there both with the team in the office and the good people of Trip Advisor who all rate this as one of the top three things to do in Havelock North.

If you are a Kiwi, you will be very familiar with Arataki honey, even if you have never tried it. They enjoy prime spots in all the major supermarkets in the country with their distinguishable packaging and variety of honey.

Arataki, however, is about much more than just the honey you find on supermarket shelves. Arataki is, in fact, the largest beekeeping operation in the Southern Hemisphere and at the visitor centre, you can not only sample all of their amazing honey, but you can also learn so much more about beekeeping, beehives, bees, and honey through a variety of interactive displays and friendly staff.

4.      Maraetotara Falls

What’s a good list of things to do without a waterfall? Havelock North thankfully ticks that box and Maraetotara Falls are pretty spectacular even if they are not that high. There is an easy return track to the falls and during the summer months, it’s a great spot for a swim.

The falls are not that well signposted so they are literally a bit of a hidden gem, however, with a bit of detective work on Google, you should have no problem tracking them down. The falls are located to nearby wineries including Black Barn and Craggy Range, so they make the perfect aperitif for a bit of wine tasting later in the day.

5.      Te Mata Park


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We’ve talked about Te Mata Peak, but let’s talk some more about Te Mata Park. As you would imagine, they are part of the same area and Te Mata Park includes all the park area that surrounds and leads up to Te Mata Peak.

The Park is one of the most popular destinations in the Hawke’s Bay region and is packed full of things to do for the whole family (including climbing Te Mata Peak). There are lots of mountain biking trails that run through Te Mata Park along with walking and orienteering trails.

On a clear day, you can see as far as Mt Ruapehu and the park lies on the edge of dramatic uplifted limestone hill country. You will also find in the park both giant and little redwoods and Karaka Grove which is one of the easiest walks in the park.

6.      Wine Tasting

A trip to Hawke’s Bay would not be complete without some wine tasting and Havelock North is home to some of the region’s finest wineries.

From the top of Te Mata Peak, you will get a superb view of some of the wineries located far below in the valley bottom and one of the most popular is Craggy Range. Other popular wineries in the area include Te Mata Estate, Black Barn and Smith and Sheth.

All of these wineries offer wine tasting at the cellar door and they all have restaurants attached where you can enjoy a glass of wine along with some locally sourced produce for lunch or dinner. A bottle of wine makes a great gift for when you get back from your holiday or make sure you are stocked up for the rest of your adventure if you are travelling around the country.

7.      Karituwhenua Stream Walkway


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Making it into Trip Advisor’s top ten things to do in Havelock North is the Karituwhenua Stream Walkway. Located in Havelock North, we must admit that this one is a hidden gem even to us, however, it seems as though plenty of people have discovered the walkway on a trip to Havelock North and given it some great feedback.

Until 1992, the Karituwhenua Stream Walkway was a tangle of weeds and rubbish, however, thanks to the hard work of a group of volunteers, it is now a beautiful walkway that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

The walkway is about 1km in length and has become popular with botanists as the path meanders along next to the stream, ending in a historic well near the back of Black Barn vineyards.

8.      Keirunga Park Railway

Keirunga Park is home to the Keirunga Park Railway – a popular tourist attraction for young families. The Keirunga Park Railway is a popular 846-metre track operated by the Havelock North Live Steamers Club. The track winds its way around Keirunga Park, through tunnels, over viaducts and around scenic rock faces.

The feedback on Trip Advisor is universally positive with one visitor saying, “An incredible activity for all ages.

As well as the railway, the park itself is a beautiful one and the gardens are spectacular in the spring and summer months. It’s a great place to head with a picnic if you are looking for something different to do in Havelock North.

9.      GO Local

This could be applied to everywhere in New Zealand, especially with the ongoing battle with COVID-19 but we can’t recommend highly enough that you try to GO local when you visit these amazing destinations located around New Zealand.

Havelock North is packed with some amazing places to eat and drink. Coffee lovers can get their fix at Hawthorne Coffee Roastery and Espresso Bar and if you’re more of a brunch sort of person, give Hygge at Clifton Bay a try.

For dinner, Pipi Café, Piku Japanese Izakaya Restaurant and Cocktail Bar and Alessandro’s Pizzeria all score very highly.

No matter where you go, try to stay local and support these amazing New Zealand businesses.

10. Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market

Ok, so this one is technically not in Havelock North, however, just a short drive away in nearby Hastings, you will find the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market every Sunday from 8.30 am to 12.30 pm.

The markets are held at the Hastings Showgrounds which is around 7.5kms from Havelock North and here you will find some of the finest local produce and artisan products on offer in the region.

During the winter months, the market relocates to the Exhibition Hall and Grandstand so no matter the time of year you are visiting, set aside Sunday morning for a trip to the Farmers’ Market.

11. Waimarama Māori Tours

Another of our Havelock North things to do that is located outside of Havelock North is Waimarama Māori Tours.

Waimarama is a beautiful small village and a great place to visit on its own, however, we recommend hopping on a Waimarama Māori Tour where you will spend time on the tribal lands at Hakikino in Waimarama or at Te Mata Peak. You will hear stories, tales and legends of the great Māori ancestors and learn more about the culture and traditions.

This is an award-winning private tour and a chance to discover more about the culture, people and sacred landscapes of the Māori people.


We hope this list of things to do in Havelock North has inspired you to do something different the next time you visit Hawke’s Bay and maybe take a trip off the beaten track and try going local and supporting some of our amazing small towns like Havelock North. These places are packed full of hidden gems just waiting to be discovered and we know you won’t be disappointed by a visit to Havelock North.

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