Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s premier wine country. Think: The Cape Winelands of South Africa, but in New Zealand. This warm, dry region is known for producing exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. We suggest cycling through the vineyards to sample the local delicacies while simultaneously enjoying the great outdoors.

There’s no doubt wine steals the show in Hawke’s Bay, but Cape Kidnappers Gannet Reserve is one of our favorite spots in the area. Cape Kidnappers is a sandstone headland home to two gannet colonies (and our all-time favorite accommodation of the same name). In our humble option, trekking and kayaking are the best ways to reach the colonies. Alternately, stretch your legs at Kaweka Forest Park, with some of the best hiking and fishing in the country.

For city conveniences, check out Napier, preserved in all its 1930’s charm – complete with Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission, and Art Deco architecture imbued with Maori motifs, which transports travelers to a bygone era. Take a City Tour or simply soak in the ambience alongside locals at a café, with a glass (or two) of wine, of course.

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John Moody