8 Awesome Things to Do in Hastings© NZPocketGuide.com
8 Awesome Things to Do in Hastings

15 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]

© NZPocketGuide.com

The Top Activities and Attractions in Hastings, New Zealand

In the heart of the wine region of Hawke’s Bay surrounded by rolling green hills, fruit orchards, vineyards and the coast, you’ll surely find lots of amazing things to do in Hastings. The charming town is home to activities for foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, and those who can’t resist a good photo opportunity. Plus, getting to everything on your Hastings travel itinerary is half the fun with a huge cycle network, tour operators and walking trails.

Whether you’re in Hastings to experience its history, art and culture, or working a fruit-picking job on a working holiday, you’ll find it impossible to get bored in this sunny region of New Zealand.

1. See the World’s Largest Gannet Colony…

… On the mainland! Hastings is a short drive away from one of Hawke’s Bay’s most iconic natural attractions, Cape Kidnappers. Not only does it display sensational scenery through its dramatic coastline of white cliffs full of tectonic scars and fossils, but it’s also home to a huge colony of majestic seabirds. Either walk to Cape Kidnappers from Clifton (check the linked page for track updates), a 5-6-hour walk achieved around low tide or take an easy-going yet informative tour with Gannet Safaris Overland also nearby Clifton. Discover more natural wonders nearby in the Top 10 Natural Attractions in Hawke’s Bay.

Location: Clifton, approximately 19 km (12 mi) from Hastings.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

2. Do a Winery-Hopping Tour

Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s oldest wine region and the largest producer of full-bodied red wines in the country. It would almost be a sin to not visit some of the wineries and vineyards while in Hastings! With 72 wineries in the region, your options are pretty much endless. Hop on a winery biking tour, shuttle bus tour with Vines and Views or Hawkes Bay Scenic Tours, or self-guided tour from cellar door to cellar door following the 10 Best Wineries in Hawke’s Bay and tasting the country’s finest wines.

Location: All around Hastings – see the link above for winery locations. Tours offer pick-ups.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

3. Visit the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market

For an affordable foodie experience, get yourself down to the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. The market is a classic Kiwi experience with markets just like this one happening all over the country every weekend. There are lots of free tastings of local produce, as well as live music and other entertainment. The Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market is every Sunday between 8:30 am and 12:30 pm.

Location: A&P Showgrounds, Hastings.

8 Awesome Things to Do in Hastings© NZPocketGuide.com

4. Walk or Drive to the Top of Te Mata Peak

Get some of the best views in the Hawke’s Bay region from the top of the 399 m (1,309 ft) Te Mata Peak. In fact, the whole area is a park with both mountain biking and walking trails to embrace the enchanting countryside scenery and exotic forest. Either enjoy the great outdoors by walking to the top or drive to the top.

Location: Te Mata Peak Road, Tuki Tuki, approximately 12.4 km (7.7 mi) from Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Take the Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trail

Hastings and the surrounding area are well connected by cycle trails showcasing the best of the Hawke’s Bay landscapes! Most trails are easy-going, taking you to vineyards and wineries, along the coast or through the countryside. For the more adventurous, there are the trails at Te Mata Peak, as well as numerous dedicated mountain biking parks. Learn about it all in our guide to Mountain Biking in Hawke’s Bay.

Location: All over Hawke’s Bay. See the link above for location specifications.

8 Awesome Things to Do in Hastings© NZPocketGuide.com

6. Check Out the Pekapeka Wetlands

Wetlands are an underrated landscape in New Zealand. They are hugely valuable to the ecosystem and harbour a wealth of diverse wildlife! In short, if you like bird watching or just want to experience an alternative landscape, then the Pekapeka Wetlands are ideal. The area covers 90 ha (222 acres) making it the largest inland wetlands in Hawke’s Bay. Make use of the easy walking tracks with interpretation signs to learn a little something while you’re there!

Location: Te Mahanga Road, approximately 16.4 km (10 mi) from Hastings.

Rudolph89 on Wikipedia© Rudolph89 on Wikipedia

7. Admire Maraetotara Falls

Who doesn’t love a good waterfall? If you haven’t seen enough waterfalls in New Zealand, then make sure you head to Maraetotara Falls on the beautiful Maraetotara Falls bush walk. The short walk takes you through native forest to a cascading waterfall, or follow the walk downstream to see the old Havelock North Power Station, which was taken out by a lightning surge in 1941.

Location: Maraetotara Road, approximately 21 km (13 mi) southeast of Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings© itravelNZ® on Flickr

8. Take a Self-Guided Spanish Mission and Art Deco Tour

That’s right, Napier might be taking the limelight when it comes to Art Deco architecture (see below), but did you know that Hastings actually has more of these buildings in its city centre? Pick up a self-guided walk brochure from the Hastings i-SITE Information Centre and follow the trail to some of the Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical architecture around the city.

Location: Hastings city centre. The i-SITE is on G04/319 Heretaunga Street East.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings© Ulrich Lange on Wikipedia

9. Go to the Beach

With a sunny climate and stunning coastline, Hastings is blessed with a wealth of beaches. Some of the closest to town are Haumoana Beach and Ocean Beach, while Waimarama and Black Head Beach are worth the extra drive. Take your pick from 10 Beautiful Beaches in Hawke’s Bay for a great day out.

Location: All over Hawke’s Bay – see the link above for specific locations.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings© NZPocketGuide.com

10. Visit the Hastings City Art Gallery

To get your dose of art and culture, visit the Hastings City Art Gallery in Hastings city centre. The free-entry art gallery has ever-changing exhibitions from both local and international artists. For more free attractions, take a look at the 20 Free & Cheap Things to Do in Hastings.

Location: Nelson Street, Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]© Tony Hisgett on Wikipedia

11. Taste Honey and Learn About the Honeybee at the Arataki Honey Visitor Centre

If you have shopped in any New Zealand supermarket, then no doubt you will have seen Arataki Honey on the shelves! The Arataki Honey Visitor Centre is a great way to learn about the largest beekeeping operation in the Southern Hemisphere, with interactive displays suitable for both children and adults. See hives on display, watch a Bee Movie, and taste a wide selection of Arataki Honeys. What’s more, the Visitor Centre is free.

Location: Arataki Road, approximately 8 km (5 mi) southeast of Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]© Hawke's Bay

12. Pet the Animals at the Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo

Hawke’s Bay is packed with activities for kids, and a highlight that’s kind on the wallet too is the Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo. Say hi to a huge selection of farm animals, feed the animals and even take the kids on a pony ride. There are playground and barbecue areas to relax after all the excitement. For more family-friendly activities, take a look at the 15 Things to Do in Napier & Hawke’s Bay with Kids.

Location: East Road, Haumoana, approximately 13 km (8 mi) east of Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

13. Experience Authentic Culture on the Waimarama Maori Tour

Forget the impersonal shows and rehearsed performances found elsewhere in New Zealand. This Maori tour near Hastings is as authentic as they come. Waimarama Maori Tours offers private tours with one of their Maori family members to take you from the sandy shores of Waimarama Beach where their ancestors arrived in New Zealand to the pā site remains of the Hakikino Conservation Reserve. Learn about Maori traditions and how they relate to modern Maori life in this tour where you are free to ask questions and get a real insight into this unique Polynesian culture. See how it compares to the 10 Best Maori Tours in New Zealand.

Location: 20 Airini Road, Waimarama, approximately 35 km (22 mi) from Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]© NZPocketGuide.com

14. Visit Havelock North Village

The attractive village of Havelock North is only a 5-minute drive from Hastings! The green-filled streets are packed with boutiques shops, cafes and restaurants. Havelock North also hosts some spectacular markets, like the Growers’ Market at the Black Barn Vineyard every Saturday in summer, and the Havelock Handmade Market in the centre of the village every first Saturday of the month. For more experiences, check out the 10 Best Things to Do in Havelock North.

Location: Havelock Road, approximately 5 km (3 mi) east of Hastings.

8 Best Things to Do in Hastings [2023]© Ulrich Lange on Wikipedia

15. Discover the Art Deco City of Napier

Just next to Hastings is the city of Napier, known as the “Art Deco Capital” of New Zealand! No doubt during your time in Hastings you will hear about an earthquake that devastated the area in 1931. For this reason, the city of Napier was rebuilt in the fun-popping style of Art Deco with photogenic architecture seen all over the city. Book your walking tour with the Art Deco Trust or a vintage car tour with Avantogo Tours or Deco City Discoverer. Check out more experiences in the 20 Best Things to Do in Napier.

Location: Napier, approximately 20 km (12 mi) from Hastings.

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

More Things to Do Near Hastings

That’s it for the best things to do in Hastings. For more experiences nearby, check out our other lists:

Finally, find more activities for your travels in the 51 Best Things to Do on the North Island.

Author

Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

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