Events, Activities and Even Jobs for a Summer in Hawke’s Bay
Life in Hawke’s Bay is best enjoyed outside. The climate in the region is generous and offers plenty of sunshine hours that you will surely want to see a lot of. Despite being extremely accessible, Hawke’s Bay is a region that is often overlooked by travellers – shameful! There are a lot of ways to make the most of summer in Hawke’s Bay.
The landscape is so diverse that in only one hour you could get from the top of a misty mountain to a sandy beach while sipping on a glass of delicious local wine. Speaking of, the region produces a considerable amount of New Zealand’s wine and, to do so, requires a lot of helping hands – That’s you, backpackers! And who wouldn’t want to work in this paradise? It is stunning, warm, welcoming and has a fascinating Maori history.
The best time to enjoy Hawke’s Bay is definitely summer, where the great outdoors is a treat to explore. We have compiled below what we think are the best ways for any traveller or working holidaymaker to make the most of the summer in Hawke’s Bay. For more things to do in the region, check out the Hawke’s Bay destination category.
Hawke’s Bay Summer Temperature
Summer in Hawke’s Bay (and New Zealand) runs from December to February where the average maximum temperature is 23°C (73°F). Check out more weather examples in our guide, What is the Weather Like in New Zealand?
1. Cycle the Many Hawke’s Bay Trails
Hawke’s Bay offers both challenging and very easy cycle trails. On the easy end of the spectrum enjoy the Water Ride, Landscape Ride and even the Wineries Ride, all outlined in our guide to Mountain Biking in Hawke’s Bay. There’s also The Big Easy cycle event that takes place annually around Easter that anyone of any fitness level can take part in. Check out more events to look out for in The Top New Zealand Events & Festivals.
For something more challenging, check out the mountain bike parks as outlined in our guide, Mountain Biking in Hawke’s Bay.
2. Catch One of the Hawke’s Bay Summer Events
Hawke’s Bay is teeming with events every summer with the wineries hosting music festivals to all sorts of sporting events. A hot annual favourite is the Art Deco Festival every February with outdoor concerts, vintage car parades, fashions shows, dining experiences, Great Gatsby picnics and more. Experience culinary magic at the annual 10-day F.A.W.C! (Food and Wine Classic) in January/February or at Beer Appreciation Day in March.
3. Golf at Cape Kidnappers
Ranked as one of the top 40 best golf courses in the world, Cape Kidnappers Golf Course is a must-visit for anyone that has any interest in golf. The scenery is simply breathtaking and the course is quite challenging.
For those that cannot afford this kind of luxury, Hawke’s Bay is home to over 20 other golf courses that will be more affordable and make for a great day out. Some are listed in the 21 Best Golf Courses in New Zealand.
4. Walk and Hike in the Wilderness
The Hawke’s Bay hiking tracks are, in most cases, easy to access and very well maintained. One of the biggest magnets is the Lake Waikaremoana Track, one of the 10 New Zealand Great Walks. Some of the other areas worth exploring are the Ruahine Ranges, the Maungaharuru Range and, of course, the spectacular Sunrise Track in central Hawke’s Bay.
For more information, check out 10 Wonderful Walks in Hawke’s Bay.
5. Raft the Mohaka River
The river offers all levels of rafting from grade 2 for kayaks to the grade 4/5 for an intense rafting session. This is a great spot to raft away from the crowds of other North Island locations in a place that feels untouched when rafted through. Pick one of the longest riding options to be challenged in the most spectacular gorges of the North Island. White water rafting trips are available with Mohaka Rafting. Find out more about the experience on Viator and Tripadvisor.
6. Relax on Pristine Beaches
The Hawke’s Bay coastline is dotted with what seems to be hundreds of tiny beaches most of which are totally safe to swim in, while others have decent surfing waves. Some are more popular than others like Ocean Beach north of Hastings. There are great camping options on several beaches like Porangahau, Pourerere and Kairakau Beach.
For beach inspiration, check out 10 Beautiful Beaches in Hawke’s Bay.
7. Ride a Horse in the Countryside
The picturesque region begs to be explored by any means possible. You’ve hiked, you’ve biked, now it’s time to horse trek. Most rides are done in very very small groups, which will open the door to a great personal experience and some really fun times like riding in the water! Horse riding in Hawke’s Bay is available with Mohaka River Farm, Boutique Horse Treks and Out on a Lim.
8. Sample Hawke’s Bay Wines…
Relaxing among the vines with a wine in hand is a classic way to spend summer in Hawke’s Bay. Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region, presenting a diverse range of varietals to try and tours to experience. Either visit them independently by following the 10 Best Wineries in Hawke’s Bay or let someone else worry about the driving and guiding on a wine tour with Prinsy’s Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor), Vines and Views Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor), Hawkes Bay Scenic Tour (on Viator and Tripadvisor) or Bay Tours and Charters (on Viator and Tripadvisor).
9. … Or Work in a Vineyard as the Ultimate Hawke’s Bay Summer Job
Because every backpacker and working holidaymaker is on a tight budget, you’ll probably have to get working at some point. But working does not have to be a struggle in a city. What about working in a stunning vineyard surrounded by spectacular mountain ranges? You’ll learn how to create the liquid gold otherwise known as the award-winning Hawke’s Bay wines!
See if we have any vineyard work listed on our job listings page.
10. Check Out the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market
One of the biggest summer events in Hawke’s Bay every week is the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. The market can be found in Hastings every Sunday morning. There’s nothing like sitting down with a real fruit ice cream, mingling with the locals and listening to live music. Get lots of free tastings and pick up some souvenirs from New Zealand.