In our ‘Complete Guide’ series, we’re going to be visiting some of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and getting the inside track from our GO Explore followers on the best places to stay, eat, drink, sunbathe and more. Instead of just finding out what the guidebooks tell you, find out what the locals and the travellers think when it comes to the best place to get an ice cream, the best fish and chips and the best cocktail you’ll ever taste! We’ve even recommended our top tip for the best rental car so you can explore the region in comfort and style.

If you’re looking for sunshine then the next place in our Complete Guide series is going to be right up your street. The Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand is one of the warmest, sunniest and driest in the country. Not only does this make it a great places to take a weekend break or longer, it also makes it the ideal place to grow the grapes that produce some amazing wine – notably reds. The Hawkes Bay region is famed for its cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah and the region is up there with New Zealand’s best when it comes to award-winning wines. If wine is not your thing, there is no shortage of things to do in the region from amazing wildlife to the stunning art deco architecture of Napier and Hastings to the awesome adventure activities that seem to be a fixture of most towns and cities throughout New Zealand. Anyway, it’s time to take a deep dive into the Hawkes Bay region and let you in on some of the area’s best kept secrets. Let’s GO!

Best accommodation in the Hawkes Bay

Once you have decided which town you are going to base yourself in, it’s time to choose some accommodation. Whether you’re looking for five star luxury hotels or a remote campground, you’re well catered for in the Hawkes Bay. We have focussed on the three main cities listed above when it comes to accommodation and threw it out to our GO Explore followers to send in their top tips for places to stay – they didn’t let us down!

Best places to eat out in the Hawke's Bay

All the way from Hastings up the east coast to Gisborne there are heaps of great places to eat out in the Hawkes Bay region. Whether you are looking for a fancy restaurant to celebrate a special occasion or you’re looking for a cheap street eat, you’re sure to find something for all occasions and budgets. Here are some of our top tips from our GO Explore fans:

Best Vineyards in the Hawkes Bay

New Zealand has some awesome wine growing regions from Marlborough and the Central Otago in the South Island to the Hawke’s Bay and Waiheke Island in the North. A trip to the Hawke’s Bay region for many offers up the opportunity to visit some of these truly stunning vineyards. Here is a list of some of our favourites:

Rent the perfect car for your adventure

Recommended vehicle for exploring Hawkes Bay


0-1 year(s) old

The Mitsubishi Pajero Sport is ideal for exploring the Hawkes Bay region with up to 7 seats, adaptive cruise control and 360° View Monitor.

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5-7 Seats

4 large bags

6 small bags

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