The Hawke’s Bay Autumn Outdoor Experience Guide
A recent spate of frosty mornings emphasises that we are well and truly into autumn; with winter just around the corner. Autumn is a brilliant time to visit Hawke’s Bay and enjoy everything it has to offer. Vivid red and gold hues have taken over and the countryside has been rejuvenated; lush and green once again.
Apart from colder mornings we have generally been spoilt with some sunshine most days. The weather is usually still dry and sunny without the sticky heat of high summer.
Here are the 5 best outdoor experiences to make the most of Hawke’s Bay over this autumn season;
Te Mata Peak
Make sure to start or end the day up at the summit of Te Mata Peak, you won’t be disappointed. The stunning golden glow that is cast over the rolling hills by the autumn sun; as it rises, and sets is a spectacular sight. There are a range of trails to explore the peak to suit most fitness levels for those wanting to get out and make the most of the outdoors before the winter rain arrives.
Local tip – Head down into the village after your walk to refuel yourself, from the extensive options of cafes and eateries.
The scenic Maraetotara Falls can be found along the popular Maraetotara Historic Walk It’s close to the site of the old Havelock North Power Station and an easy drive from Havelock North village. It’s a pleasant walk and there’s space for a picnic at the base of this waterfall among the native fauna.
Local tip – from here its only 15 minutes to either Waimarama beach or Ocean beach. So, adventure a little further and be treated to the more panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean with the autumn mist hovering.
Autumn is an amazing time to stroll or bike ride along marine parade, it’s not too hot, and did we mention the view? Set on the edge of the Pacific Ocean with panoramic views you can see as far as Mahia Peninsula and Cape Kidnappers. Marine Parade stretches a mere 3km but is a trail filled with many of Napier iconic free attractions; these include Pania of the reef, the art deco sound shell, the sunken gardens and of course the latest addition the ocean viewing platform.
Local tip – start down the south end, opposite Ellison St and when you get to the end treat yourself with a coffee from Magnet café, set right on the beach. Then you can stroll back sipping on your coffee enjoying the plethora of tourist must-sees.
Peka Peka Wetlands
The Peka Peka Wetlands are part of an ancient peat swamp and believed to be one of the oldest wetlands in New Zealand. They provide vital habitat for an array of native bird and plant life. Use the network of boardwalks and pathways to explore the wetlands, looking out for unusual wildlife along the way.
Local tip – Make sure to read the information panels, as they give a lot of insight into the Maori history of the area.
Otatara Pa is an extremely interesting place to visit. As you walk around the reserve (takes about 45 minutes) you’ll get to see get to see the remains of Hawke’s Bay’s once most sought pa site (a Maori fortified village) and Maori carvings. Otatara PA also offers breath-taking views of Napier, the coast and all the way inland to Mt Ruapehu on a clear day. The Otatara Pa is free to visit.
Local tip – You’ll find the new Zeffer Cider Taproom only a couple of minutes’ down the road. Their seasonal apple crumble cider is a winter must have!