Hastings there are plenty of things to do. Hastings is a must-go destination with its pantry groaning with foodie delights, an award winning Gimblett Gravels vineyards in the neighbourhood and art deco architecture to gladden the heart of fans.
TOP SIGHTS, HIGHLIGHTS
- THE HUB of food and wine Hawke’s Bay with over 70 wineries, craft breweries and cider producers nearby
- Location says it all with the outdoors, either north or south within biking distance
- Markets, shops and its own version of art deco vibe giving Napier a run for their money
- Maori pou sculptural markers look stunning in Hastings Facebook posts Hastings District Council – Te Kaunihera ā-Rohe o Heretaunga
ART DECO HASTINGS
For art deco enthusiastics and architecture heritage buffs check the Hastings CBD Heritage Inventory Project. There is a detailed list of category I buildings, together with a street map and identifying photograph.
- Hastings Reading Cinema and nearby replica 1930’s street lamp is the star of many an Instagram feed
HASTINGS CITY ART GALLERY
Hastings City Art Gallery provides local, national and international contemporary art exhibitions to the Hawke’s Bay community. The gallery is located within Hastings War Memorial Library complex. Te Toa is Hastings City Art Galleries unique art gallery shop that showcases and supports local and national artists. Making connections between artist and community – see their work and learn about their process. Te Toa shop sells one-off studio pieces, ceramics, jewellery, taonga, and more.
Hastings City Art Gallery exhibits across four spaces. The Main Gallery and the Holt Gallery flow nicely into the Alcove and the Foyer which often have an interactive wall, specially designed for young artists in the making or those young at heart. Auaha (shape, create and form) is a workshop space which is used for public programmes, workshops, artist residencies, meetings and external events.
Nga Pou o Heretaunga
Civic Square is graced with eighteen pou, each representing an ancestor from marae around the Heretaunga district. This is a link to the past and a statement of cultural identity. Nga Pou o Heretaunga have been carved from ancient totara trees by a team of 20 carvers and support crews over a span of 10 months
FRIMLEY POOL AND PARK
A three pool complex nestled in the picturesque Frimley Park. The pools are a 50 metre swimming pool, learners pool and toddler pool.
Surrounded by mature trees the park has a modern playground, a splash pad, disc golf with the trees creating an ideal obstacle course for players. There is adult exercise equipment nearby the playground. Among the 16.8 hectares is a duck pond.
A well known feature is the traditional Chinese garden was established at Cornwall Park in 1996 to commemorate Hastings’ 15th anniversary of our sister city relationship with Guilin. The garden takes its name from the Osmanthus family of plants which have been extensively planted throughout and includes highly scented shrubs and ground covers, along with group plantings of pine trees and bamboo. The lighting of the Osmanthus Gardens is an annual event held in March in tribute to this relationship.
Hastings Icons is a multi-site installation work by Adrian Thornton. The themes are specific to Hastings and what is the town’s unique identity crafted from. The large scale screen prints are attached to public walls. Each print is linked through a QR code to more information on the subject. Hastings Icons is created by Adrian Thornton, enabled by Jess Soutar Barron and funded through the Hastings City Vibrancy Fund and Arts Inc Heretaunga.
ATEA A RANGI – WAITANGI ESTUARY
STAR COMPASS, the traditional navigation tool, for east polynesians voyaging the Pacific Ocean was the alignment of the stars. The star compass is a training tool used by celestial navigators who sailed traditionally throughout the Pacific. The rising and setting points of the celestial bodies are memorised by using the carved Pou (Posts) and the Horizon.For tours of the site, please contact the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust, who were responsible for the design, carving and completion of the star compass.
STONEYCROFT RESERVE & HOMESTEAD
A Victorian homestead now houses Knowledge Bank a non-profit organisation working to preserve the past for the future by digitising the pictures, film, biographies and oral histories of Hawke’s Bay. It is also home to the Lily Baker Library, which includes a collection of important records accumulated by Hawke’s Bay genealogists. For researchers an appointment is necessary before visiting.
- Rita Angus (Artist)
- Alan Duff (author and founder of Duffy books in homes)
- Georgina Evers-Swindell & Caroline Evers-Swindell (Olympic rowing gold medalist)
- Robert Felkin (Medical missionary, explorer and ceremonial magician)
- Phil Judd (Musician, composer and founding member of Split Enz)
- Alfred Meebold (Botanist, writer, and anthroposophy)
- George Nēpia (All Black who attended Maori Agricultural College)
- James Wattie (industrialist/entrepreneur and founder of Wattie’s)
WHAT TO DO WITH KIDS
- Splash Planet, managed by the local council is an outstanding highlight of a summer at the local pools. Massive hydroslides, water cannons, floating platforms and water play equipment have made Hastings a destination for kids for several generations. Formerly the site was themed Fantasyworld. For up to date opening hours check beforehand to avoid disappointment.
- Frimley Park with its adventure playground, spacious lawns for impromptu cricket or frisbee
- Rush Munro’s ice cream shop for an authentic Hawke’s Bay foodie treat
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- The Clock Tower in the centre of town which contains the bells recovered from the post office following the 1931 earthquake.
- City centre water feature and, if you are lucky, a massive Kiwi Rail freight train belting its way through the centre. The main train line goes right through the middle of the town.
- Yourself at a festival
- Civic Square, Nga Pou o Heretaunga choose one of the eighteen carved pou and put yourself in the background with the centerpiece the carving.
In 2008 a wine-tasting competition between Gimblett Gravels and French Bordeaux red wines was held. The Gimblett Gravels wines retailed for about $50 per bottle, while the French ones were about $1,000 each. Experts were served the wine in a blind tasting. Gimblett Gravels came out ahead – its wines were four of the top six picks. Gimblett Gravels red wines are the result of climate and unique gravel soils of the area. Wineries have to meet stringent requirements to use the Gimblett Gravels brand on their wines.
- BRIDGE PA FESTIVAL celebrates Gimblett Gravels vineyards award winning wines, food producers and artisan arty crafty creators
- NEST FEST one of New Zealand’s very best indie festivals
- Hastings blossom festival (spring)
- Hawkes Bay A&P Showgrounds in Hastings is the home to the annual NZ Horse of the Year show (March)
EAT & DRINK – HASTINGS
The place is rocking with foodie destinations rivaling Napier as the place to eat and drink the bounty of the Hawke’s Bay.
HAWKE’S BAY FARMERS’ MARKET
The doyenne of markets is the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market. Every Sunday people gravitate to the 60 stalls scattered around the spacious grounds of the A&P Showgrounds to sample some of the best local produce.
Frenchman to his core, Moise Cerson set up shop in Hastings and his crisp, buttery croissants, pain aux raisin, brioche buns and mille-feuille are now found in cafes and restaurants throughout the Hawke’s Bay. In Hastings it is the epi-centre of all that is deletable about French baked goods. Watch the baking process in action through enormous floor-to-ceiling windows. It is a highlight for foodie lovers.
CORNUCOPIA ORGANICS & CHANTAL ORGANICS
Both well known stores and brands founded their sustainability practices in Hastings. For a picnic hamper or simply to wonder how to prepare millet flour, spend time wandering the aisles of these two stores. The stores will offer helpful advice on herbal treatments, advice as well have onsite cafes specialising in organic and vegan offerings.
COFFEE AT CUPPLE
The innovative cafe has a six metre concrete bench which is fun as well as excellent coffee. In fact the place is so good at coffee magic Cupple is known for its training of baristas which takes place in public.
Next door, through a glass door you can witness Ya Bon, the French Bakery that shares the four walls with Cupple. In Cupple’s backyard is a rustic courtyard.
LA PETITE CHOCOLATE
Another choccy heaven for lovers of melt in mouth treats. Interesting flavour bites from chilli & lime or delicate milk chocolate that will satisfy the most discerning palate. La Petite Chocolate: La Petite – Organic & Fairtrade Craft Chocolate Made in New Zealand bars are wrapped in special compostable packaging which also maintains the required barrier properties to protect the chocolate in the best possible way.
Hastings Distillers is New Zealand’s first producer of certified organic artisan spirits and liqueurs. Our decades long backgrounds in winemaking provide an ideal starting point to further explore our long time love of all things botanical and spirituous. The distillery is housed in a beautiful art deco 1930’s printing works now restored and the home of spirits and liqueurs. There is a tasting room with bites being offered as part of the experience.
Beers at Brave Brewing are part of the 3 day foodie road trip. What started in the back shed, with husband and wife team Gemma and Matt in the starring roles is now a relaxed rural pub setting (complete with hops plants) where a burger, pizza and their finest brews, from ‘The People’s Pils’ (a German-style Pilsner) to ‘Stay Gold’ a Pacific Wheat Ale are part of the day’s entertainment.
- Summer, dry warm consistent weather
- Winter is crisp with blue skies and moderate rainfall.
- Spring and autumn are distinctive seasons creating a lush landscape as well as encouraging new shoots on vineyards and orchard trees laden with fruit buds.
- Don’t leave Hawke’s Bay without visiting Hastings.
Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Napier & Hawkes Bay Region nearby attractions and events.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
- Hastings is on a par with Napier population wise. The town is the key economic hub of the Hawke’s Bay with the massive Heinz Watties factory complex, the regional newspaper’s head office and many agricultural entities based in Hastings. Hastings is smack bang in the Heretaunga plain. The town’s grid pattern and flat, easy wide pavements make the city easy to navigate. The city centre is arranged around a large pedestrian square, which is bisected by a railway line. Wrapped around Hastings are vineyards, orchards and dairy farms.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE.