Fruit, wine and 1930s architecture give Hastings, New Zealand, an appealing and distinct ambiance. Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Hastings is one of only two urban centers in Hawke’s Bay and it has a population of about 78,600. Featuring everything from zoos, splash parks, horseback riding and hiking, Hastings is a fantastic destination for a family or for the outdoorsy person, looking for adventure. Here are some of the best things you must do in Hastings, NZ:
1. Hawkes Bay Farmyard Zoo
Hawkes Bay Farmyard Zoo was built in February 2004 and from that point forward it has been one of the main attractions in Hastings. The zoo is kept in pristine condition, with great signs so visitors never get lost, with nice, limestone walkways. Moreover, the zoo caters to events, with areas for gatherings, work functions, and Christmas parties.
Come and check out the variety of animals here, from pigs to sheep and calves, ostriches, alpacas, turtles and peacocks. Springtime at the zoo is especially exciting and it is the time when many baby animals are born. You can feed the lambs when possible and see baby pigs, guinea pigs and rabbits. Have a BBQ under one of the outdoor covered tables or enjoy the play area. There are train and horse rides available for all ages or you can book one of the three-hour horse treks through the vineyards, a ride and dine tour to Clear View Winery, or a Hill Country Trek.
2. Mohaka Rafting
Mohaka Rafting offers visitors an unparalleled North Island rafting day trip. The dazzling Mohaka Rafting company offers everything from a picturesque half day pontoon trip or an inflatable kayak trip to the best grade 4/5 rafting trip that New Zealand can bring to the table. If you’re keen on something longer than a one-day trip, Mohaka Rafting does multi-day trips, as well. They offer their customers the best in discovering the untouched New Zealand backwoods, with the best guides, gear and food.
3. Cool off at Splash Planet
Splash Planet has a great selection of pools, slides and rides. Only open from November to February, Splash Planet offers a great day of fun for kids and adults alike. It features everything from thrilling rides like the Sky Castle Screamer and the Sky Tunnel to more mellow adventures, like indoor heated pools and kayaking, this is a must-visit attraction for kids. However, do note that we don’t advise going during the last week of summer in the southern hemisphere, as it gets jam-packed.
4. Ride with Boutique Horse Treks
If you’re looking for a different activity near Hastings, we recommend booking a horse trek, with Boutique Horse Treks. There are three different treks you can choose from: a beach ride, winery ride or a water ride, where the river meets the ocean. Each trek invites all levels of riders, so there’s no concern if you have no experience. Also, the duration of each trek differs, so be sure you have plenty of time in your schedule to fit in the trek.
5. Top of Te Mata Peak
Te Mata Peak is at the western limit of the wine-producing Heretaunga Plains and stands at almost 400 meters (1,312 feet) above sea level. From the peak, you can appreciate all-encompassing views of the Ruahine, Kaweka and Maungaharuru Ranges and Cape Kidnappers. The spring of gushing lava at Ruapehu, the focal point of Tongariro National Park, is likewise noticeable on a crisp morning.
The nature trails of Te Mata Peak are awesome for explorers and mountain bikers. Ascending the peak is an astounding cardio exercise, yet the colossal views make the effort well worth it. Other than climbing, biking trails in the Te Mata Trust Park lead through backwoods and along wonderful limestone valleys.
6. Pekapeka Wetlands
The Pekapeka Wetlands can be found on State Highway 2, south of Hastings, and it spreads across 98 hectares (242.2 acres) and for the most part is now owned by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council. Pekapeka is only one of a handful inland wetlands in Hawke’s Bay and it is being restored to upgrade its ability to control surge waters and to build upon the regular biodiversity that lives in and around the wetland.
An information center is being created inside the wetland, with access from SH2, to provide visitors details about the history of Pekapeka and the significance of the wetlands for the well-being of all humans and animals in the area. This ought to be finished by 2011.
7. Hastings City Art Gallery
This publicly funded gallery hosts exhibitions, programmes and events, suitable for all ages. They also feature kids art drop-in days and school holiday workshops. The exhibitions bring local, national and international artists to the local community. Their shop has jewelry, art and handmade items from local artists and it is a great place to pick up a souvenir for yourself or something unique for a gift. Visit their website for updated information on exhibitions and events!