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Hastings is a city in Hawke's Bay, on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. It is the largest populous area in Hawke's Bay. Napier follows closely after. It was heavily damaged in the 1931 Napier earthquake, but because there were no fires much of it survived and is still visible in the city's downtown architecture. This contributed to the damage it did suffer makes Hastings the 'jewel' in the crown of the 'Napier' earthquake. This is mixed with Art Deco. Hastings has in the past been known has being an unattractive place to visit, but with the councils push for central business district redevelopment the city is returning to its previous splendour. It is the food-producing capital of New Zealand and has many different types of food. Its cuisine is unrivalled anywhere else. It also receives 2200 hours of sunshine a year, making it one of the sunniest places in New Zealand. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest
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Points of Interest in Hastings
Because Hastings was destroyed in the 1931 Napier earthquake along with Napier it was rebuilt in the stunning Art Deco style popular at the time. The town contains several excellent examples of this
- The clock tower that contains the bells from the post office that collapsed during the quake. It chimes every hour on the hour
- The main shopping street, Heretaunga Street, contains the bulk of the Art Deco architecture, so if your an enthusiast you can go past a walk down Heretaunga Street
- The occasional art deco house scattered around town.
Located in the centre of the city are Hastings' iconic Sheep. These sheep have, over time, migrated around the city, currently they are checking out the clock, as seen to the right.
Hastings has also had millions spent of redeveloping the CBD (central business district) so looks beautiful. Several major features are:
- The new centre city fountain
- The hand at the south end of Karamu Road outside the library
- Olive trees planted along Heretaunga
- Art works
Many more significant art works were designed at the local Cicada Works cooperative workshop at Whakatu
- The grills around the fountain
- The performing stage beside Westpac bank
- The curved streetlights
Other things to see in Hastings include:
- The unique train track that runs through the middle of the CBD
- The apple trees in blossom
- Hastings picks up the Hawke's Bay channel. Its channel 51. It can be a bit hard to receive clearly but with enough jiggering a set of bunny ear aerials will pick it up.
- The Chinese gardens down Nelson Street are very nice. They can be found in Cornwall park with its large fountain. The gardens celebrate Hastings' partnership with its sister city, Guilian City in China
Hastings is a pleasant sun-drenched town in Hawke's Bay. It is in constant rivalry with Napier as Napier receives all the tourist attention. The information centre will provide bookings and advice on anything in Hastings. It can be found on the corner of Russell and Heretaunga Street East, opposite the fountain with the train track running through it. It is in the Westermans building and can be called on (06)873 0080. (06) is the calling code for toll calls from outside Hastings.
Hastings District Council governs a large part of Hawke's Bay south of the Wairoa district and north of the Central Hawke's Bay district. Close to the main urban area of Hastings is Havelock North, a trendy fast-growing village on the foothills of Te Mata peak, and Flaxmere, a satellite suburb. Clive, Bridge Pa and Whakatu are smaller satellite settlements.
- Splash Planet, ☎ +64 6 873 8033. Grove Road. Splash Planet is a water theme park that offers 'A whole day's fun'. It is set in a park-like setting and has many non-aquatic activities for those who don't like swimming. Splash Planet's 'logo' is a planet-like ball with a 'water' comet whizzing around it on the brown signs scattered throughout Hastings on the lamp-posts. Follow where those signs point. Splash Planet is well worth the effort for your kids. If you get lost, you should pull over and any friendly local will point the way for you! It can be found by travelling on Karamu Road until you reach a set of traffic lights with a car dealer on the corner. Turn to go down the side with the car dealer on it, or follow the small brown signs posted on lamp posts. Following Grove Road (toward Karamu High School and you can't miss it on the right.
There are about 64 vineyards and wineries in the area around Hastings. Many of them have won international awards for their wine. Because the viticulture industry is so new to Hawke's Bay, most of the buildings and facilities are ultra-modern. The population of Havelock North frequents these locations so they are always busy and always competing, especially on quality, with the other wineries which may be no further away than across the road. Because of the unusually high density of wineries, there are many tours available. Some of the better known ones are listed here.
Craggy Range Vineyard, 253 Waimarama Road, Havelock North, ph (06)873 0143. Ultra fancy winery. Very nice setting in the Tukituki valley between the Tukituki River and Te Mata Peak.
Ngatarawa Wines, 305 Ngatarawa Road, RD5 Bridge Pa., ph +64 6 879 7603. You may already know this wine with its characteristic horse-head label.
Prenzel on the Bay, 180 Havelock North Road, Havelock North, ph +64 6 870 8524. Although not strictly a winery, it still offers a delicious range of Schnapps, liqueurs and aux de vies as well as food to indulge yourself in.
Sileni Estates Winery, 2016 Maraekakaho Road, RD1, Hastings, ph +64 6 879 8768. Has an restaurant, shop, cellar tours and can host conferences and functions
Vidal Estate Winery, 913 St Aubyn Street East, +64 6 876 8105. This winery is historic, one of the first to be established in Hawke's Bay. As the town expanded, it grew around the winery, leaving it in the middle of Hastings. It has a restaurant, sales, and can host functions.
Odyssey New Zealand, 219 Kenilworth Rd, ph 0508 ODYSSEY
Long Island Tours, 20 Reynolds Road, Havelock North, ph +64 6 877 0977. Offers different types of tours for every taste, or type.
Beaches and rivers
Hawke's Bay's natural abundance is recognized by the regional council's logo: each ‘finger’ represents one of the 5 main rivers. It also has several golden sand beaches. These are listed from north to south
- Clive River is popular for its water sports including jet boating, kayaking and waka (Maori canoe) rides. No motorized craft are allowed further up the river than the bridge.
- The Tukituki River is generally considered a safe place to take the kids swimming. The favourite spot is ‘Undercliff’ near Havelock North. It is within a 25min cycle from Hastings city centre
- Haumoana beach has a lovely little seaside settlement. It is generally regarded as an unsafe place to swim, thanks to dangerous undertows from the many rivers that pour into the bay.
- Te Awanga is another lovely beach settlement - but again, no swimming.
- Clifton Is the base from which to explore the Cape Kidnappers mainland gannet colony. It is largest mainland gannet colony in the world and has over 50,000 birds. It is important to check the tides before walking out there as the tide comes up to the cliffs, leaving you to be washed out to sea. There is a café that serves Rush Munroe’s ice cream and other café food. You can book tractor rides out to the gannet colony in the main part of town and there is always room at the Clifton motor camp for another camper van. It is in places not safe to swim at.
- Ocean Beach is Hawke's Bay's premier beach. During the summer months (November – February) it has hundreds of beach goers. Golden sand stretches for 10km in either direction from Reneika Point down to Waimarama beach. The sand is compact and even the heaviest 4x4 will have no trouble driving on it. It is a remarkably safe beach for swimming, but the current will carry you down the beach a little. During the busiest months, there are lifeguards who patrol a short stretch of beach near the settlement. There are no shops so you will need to bring your own food.
Ocean Beach will remain unspoiled for the foreseeable future. A recent plan to develop it with a large holiday resort was stopped thanks to local resistance. We want to keep our beach as it is.
- Waimarama Beach is another sandy beach, not quite as spectacular as Ocean Beach but the citizens of the settlement still call it home. It is a very popular New Year's party beach, so if you go there on New Year's Eve, expect hundreds of drunken teenagers. It is safe to swim at. The island you can see is called ‘Bare Island’ because there is virtually no vegetation on it. It has a New Zealand fur seal colony on the side not visible from the beach.
- Kairakau Beach has a small settlement. It is very difficult to find and is a long way out from the nearest settlement, Elsthorpe.
- Te Mata peak offers out-door activities. Cycling is an option with many cycle paths and a the 30 minute walk to the massive redwoods is well worth it
- The A&P show at the Hawke's Bay show grounds on October 18
- Pernel Fruit World offers tractor rides around their orchard and educates tourists about how fruit is grown around Hastings. Pernel Fruit World: 1412 Pakowhai Rd Hastings. Ph (06) 878 3383
- There are hot pools in the Kaweka Ranges somewhere in the vicinity of Sherenden, partway between Hastings and Taihepe. Ask at the Information centre (Corner of Heretaunga and Russel streets) for directions
Hastings, having a warm climate, produces a variety of food not found anywhere else in New Zealand. Much of this locally grown produce is turned into an even greater variety of quality products. This is recognised by Heinz-Watties established in 1934 who uses large amounts of locally grown produce
- The Farmers Market Meets every Sunday morning in the A&P show grounds. The two dozen or so stalls sell and showcase the wealth and variety of food produced around Hastings. There is usually a stall or three selling coffee and breakfast burgers and other ready-to-eat food. Open from 8.30 until lunch time. It is recommended you get there early before all the good stuff is sold
- Pernel Fruit World, having burned down a few years ago, was rebuilt better than ever. They endeavour to sell only the freshest fruit and despise having to use coolstores. Often the fruit sold in the shop was picked in the orchard behind the shop that same day. They have a small fruit themed café 1412 Pakowhai Rd
- BJ's Bakery has the best pies you will ever taste. It frequently wins four or five 'Best pie in New Zealand' awards at a hit. In fact it has a wall covered with about 30 of these awards. Its suggested you get there before lunch though because the nearby workers eat all the pies. 305 Karamu Rd Hastings. Ph (06) 878 8397. It is on Karamu Road but can be a bit hard to find as the main part of Karamu Rd ends at the library, but it does continue on the other side.
- Lantern Light Dairy on the corner of Willowpark and Grove roads sells more KoolsChicken and Chips. The chips must be tasted to be believed. The dairy sells 1.5 tons of chips a week, more than the towns KFC. Informally considered the tastiest chips in the Bay by the locals. 509 Grove Rd Hastings (on the way to Splash Planet
- Hastings is the 'Fruit Bowl of New Zealand'. This is because it is surrounded by an abundance of market gardens situated around the city on the Fertile Heretaunga Plains. If one is observant they can find several roadside stalls that operate on an honesty box system selling a wide variety of fruits and vegetables ranging from lemons to pumpkins to avocados. Pakowai Gardens on Pakowai road is a classic example of the vast horticultural wealth of Hastings.
- Rush Munro's Ice Cream Gardens sells natural fruit ice creams. 704 Heretaunga St West.
- Mahora Fish Supply, 600 Frederick Street, ☎ +64 6 878 3746. Sells a good quality meal of Fish and Chips but also has a large menu of other fried foods. You can call ahead and pick the food up when you are ready.
- Golden Spring Restaurant, 617 Heretaunga Street, ☎ +64 6 878 7980. Offers the widest range of Chinese buffet food found so far. It has takeaways, and a small restaurant.
- Tommo's At The Lodge. Cnr of Omahu Rd and Pakowhai Rd. 06 876 3299. Lively pub restaurant with beer garden. Does hearty meals at good prices, especially the steak. The staff will also make you want to return, friendly,fun and cannot do enough for you.
The city is surrounded by wineries and vineyards so local wine is cheap and popular, among the higher classes of wines in the world the quality is so great, wines served at major parties and dinners associated with New Zealand are usually served with Hastings wine, including a dinner at the Queen's 80th Birthday. The towns water supply is pumped directly from the aquifer underneath the Heretaunga plains which the town is situated on. The only reason it doesn't receive an AA rating is because the council refuses to chlorinate the water as it is already crystal clear enough. This water is (obviously) used to produce the many different alcohols in the area.
- Breakers Cafe & Bar, 131 Heretaunga St East (Opposite the ANZ bank), ☎ +64 6 878 6701. Serves reasonably cheap alcohol. Quite nice. Good for basically anyone to go to. And it has pool tables.
- Wholesale Liquor on Karamu Road, 410 Karamu St (opposite BP). Open until late (usually 11PM on Fridays, 10PM on other nights) it has the cheapest alcohol in town, possibly in all of Hawke's Bay. In fact on all significant nights the Mill Liquor Save beside it has no business while Wholesale's car park is full.
- The Cru Bar, ☎ +64 6 878 5290. King Street. A great pub with friendly atmosphere and bar staff. A good place for the backpacking crowd to mix in the summer.
- Liquid Central, 342 Heretaunga St West, ☎ +64 6 870 3680. A sports bar. Watch the game and the like
- Hastings has wonderful shopping, and what cannot be found in the city can usually be found after a short trip into the environs. For example, up market clothing and boutique stores can be found in Havelock North, while industrial good are found down the infamous Omahu Road (which is a continuation of Heretaunga Street)
- Hastings has the longest strip of retail stores in New Zealand. This strip reaches from Warren street in the east through to Jarvis road in the west. It offers anything for sale from greenstone items through to tractors and fastfood and car parts. This strip is situated on Heretaunga Street, although it changes names several times along its length. You can buy almost anything you are looking for here.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Hastings (New Zealand) on Wikivoyage.