Hawkes Bay is dominated by the twin cities Napier and Hastings and the sunshine. Both cities are renowned for their architecture, with Napier being one of the Art Deco capitals of the world with the town destroyed by the 1931 earthquake and Napier was rebuilt.
On February 3, 1931 the peaceful tranquillity of New Zealand's Hawkes Bay region was shattered when the worst earthquake in New Zealand's history struck the area. At 10:46 am on that summer's day, the quake hit with a magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale. The epicentre of the quake was situated some 15 to 20 kilometres north of the two main centres in the region, Napier and Hastings. The quake lasted for two and a half minutes. The death toll was 258, 162 being in Napier, 93 in Hastings and 3 in the small township of Wairoa.
Hawkes Bay is also home to some of New Zealand's most prestigious vineyards
Napier itself fronts onto a sweeping stretch of Pacific Ocean shoreline. The adjacent Marine Parade, with its Norfolk Pines and ocean views, gives the city a holiday resort feel. Walk along the parade and you'll come across several of the city's best attractions.
National Aquarium of New Zealand Napier
Going north, visit the aquarium and marine park. The aquarium features a vast array of ocean life, while the marine park has live shows featuring the dolphins and other mammals. Accessible from Marine Parade is the Hawke's Bay Art Gallery and Museum. Many of the museums exhibits set out to recapture the atmosphere and devastation of the 1931 earthquake. There are also art and craft displays on show. Also visit other attractions including a nocturnal Kiwi House, and the Botanic Gardens. For views of the coastline and city, move to the lookouts on Bluff Hill.
Hawkes Bay Map
Hawkes Bay climate:
Average Summer temperature; 23.5c
Warmest months; December to March
Average Winter temperature; 14.5c
Average Hours of sunshine per year; 2188hrs
Average annual rainfall; 800mm
Popular Hawkes Bay activities
Visit the largest Gannet colony in the world at Cape Kidnappers
Climb Te Mata Peak for great views of the area
Take a walking tour around Napiers art deco buildings
Swimming and surfing in the area
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