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Your guide to Havelock North
All About Havelock North
Situated in the Hawke’s Bay wine country, Havelock North, a city on New Zealand’s North Island, draws travelers to explore its boutique wineries, outdoor recreation options, and bustling village center. The rich farmland surrounding Havelock North, along with the area’s temperate climate, makes it ideal for growing fruit of all kinds. The region supplies fruit to the rest of New Zealand, and you can taste some of the area’s bounty at the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market. Havelock North’s love for food doesn't stop with wine and fruit — it is home to several coffee roasters, too.
The mountains around the city are covered with lush, short grass, and the many dirt trails for hiking and biking that wind around the slopes are clearly marked. Te Mata Peak Park, just outside town, is home to a number of trails that traverse the foggy valleys, rocky summits, and redwood forests near Te Mata Peak.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Havelock North
The Hawke’s Bay region has a Mediterranean climate. Summer (December through February) brings some of New Zealand’s driest and warmest weather, while Havelock North’s protected position to the east of the Kaweka mountain range means mild, less windy winters (June through August). Towering Te Mata Peak is capped with snow in July, and the road to the summit can be blocked at times during the coldest months, so pack warm layers and be prepared to change your plans if you’re tackling the mountain in the winter.
Napier Art Deco Festival less than a half-hour drive north celebrates all things glamour each February with themed fashion shows and vintage car displays in the summer sun. Local vineyards on both banks of the Tukituki River harvest their crop in the autumn, and you take advantage of mild days with a tour or two.
Top things to do in Havelock North
Less than 15 minutes south of Havelock North, the clear pool beneath Maraetotara Falls is a haven for swimmers. The riverside walking trail — Maraetotara Historic Walk — takes you down wooden stairs and along a tree-lined riverside path until you reach the lush, fern-peppered cascade around 10 minutes in. Look out for birdlife including kererū amid the trees, and don’t forget a towel if you’re planning on taking a dip.
Te Mata Park
At 1300 feet high, Te Mata is the tallest point in the area. It offers 360-degree views of the wine-growing region, deep valleys, and sprawling wetlands that stretch to the sea. The park is run by the community and offers hiking and biking trails. However, you do not actually have to hike up Te Mata Peak to experience it, as a road leads to the top, and you’ll even find a restaurant up there.
The half-hour drive southeast is rewarded with excellent surf that laps the swathe of sand protected by Kuku rocks. Despite shallow waters, you’ll need to be wary of rip tides — the beach is patrolled by lifeguards between December and late March. Fishing is a popular pastime here, and you won’t have to venture far from land to catch crayfish and flounder.