Napier wineries: Discover Hawke’s Bay wines

As the second largest wine producing region in New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay attracts a great number of the wine tourists to the underside of the world each year in search of some of the country’s finest wineries.

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There are around 72 wineries in the region, mostly small boutique estates producing hand crafted premium wines that are highly rated by international critics, so to fully appreciate Hawke’s Bay requires a few days. Consequently, many people stay in the region with the enclave of 1930s Art Deco architecture, Napier, often being the preferred base from which to explore Napier wineries as part of the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail that courses through Hawke’s Bay, Wairarapa, Wellington and Marlborough.

Napier is regarded as the Art Deco capital of the world after being completely remodelled from the rubble of a devastating earthquake in 1931 in the prevailing Spanish-mission style of the time.

Since the country’s first vines were planted here by Marist missionaries in 1851, a host of recognisable brands have established themselves on the Napier wineries map – including Te Mata Estate, Church Road and the original Mission Estate.

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However, there is more to this wonderfully picturesque seaside town than simply touring your way through a list Napier wineries. Here are six alternative attractions to enjoy:

1. Art Deco architecture

Napier is regarded as the Art Deco capital of the world after being completely remodelled from the rubble of a devastating earthquake in 1931 in the prevailing Spanish-mission style of the time.

Among the many buildings that line the streets, the Masonic Lodge and Criterion Hotel are particularly impressive – while the National Tobacco Building has recently been converted into a Napier winery, the country’s first urban cellar door.

2. Marine Parade

Napier’s beautiful seafront promenade is lined with tall Norfolk Pines and is home to the relaxing settings of the Marine Parade Garden and the Sunken Gardens where some of the town’s most memorable monuments and art installations can be found.

The Parade is also where one of New Zealand’s most photographed tourist attractions lies – the Pania of the Reef (a Maori mythical figure) that was presented to the town by the Napier 3,000 Club in 1954.

3. Otatara Pa

For an experience far removed from sampling renowned Bordeaux-style blends from Napier wineries, Otatara Pa offers a glimpse into the history of New Zealand’s indigenous people. The 40 hectare Maori fortified village is the largest in Hawke’s Bay and was once the home of chief Turauwha who reigned over the area.

Careful excavation and preservation have revealed many of the foundations of the terraced dwellings and food pits, while the hill that the former village rests on offers breathtaking panoramic views of the region.

4. Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers is a stark headland that juts into the sea just south of Napier, which was given its name by English discoverer Captain James Cook in 1769 after the locals he was trading with kidnapped his Tahitian cabin boy.

Since then, the craggy peninsula has become home to the world’s largest colony of gannet seabirds making it a must-travel destination for nature lovers.

5. Bluff Hill

Those visitors willing to take the winding trail north of the town centre that leads to the top of Bluff Hill will be rewarded with spectacular 360-degree views across Napier and its dazzling blue bay.

6. Te Mata Peak

Outdoor enthusiasts eager to escape Napier wineries for a day can trek up Te Mata Peak, which rises 339 metres above sea level and affords sweeping views over the idyllic countryside that carpets Hawke’s Bay.

The Peak is significant to Maori heritage as folklore claims it is where legendary chief Te Mata O Rongokako tried to eat his way through the cliffs to win the hand of his lover. The national park covers 99 hectares with a network of trails traversing through native forest, gum trees, eucalyptus and redwood areas.

If you are interested in visiting a Napier winery or any of the town’s other attractions, contact Wine Paths’ local expert for more information and inspirational ideas before planning an exclusive bespoke trip.

 

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