Our top 5 sights in Hawkes Bay – Backpacking Tipps

What you should definitely see in Hawkes Bay

Today we have our personal Top 5 for Hawkes Bay in New Zealand. Find out which places we found the most beautiful and why. Have fun reading. And we are happy about your tip what you also liked. Preferably as a comment here under the articles.


Urewera National Park – Lake Waikaremoana

In the Urewera National Park lies the first Great Walk of New Zealand, which leads around its namesake, Lake Waikaremoana. The lake was formed 22000 years ago during a landslide which dammed the Waikaretaheke River. Today the lake with its crystal-clear water is 54km^2 in size and at its deepest point 248m deep (on average about 100m.) Besides the Great Walk there are many other hiking trails – some only 30 minutes, others 6 hours. From “Lou's Lookout” you have a fantastic view over the lake and the surrounding mountains. In “Rosie's Bay” you can sleep right next to the mountain lake. Situated at an altitude of 600 meters and fed by the mountain rivers, the lake is crystal clear (you can still see the bottom, although you can't stand up for a long time) and freezing cold. On cloudless nights the stars and the moon are reflected on the mirror-like lake.


View on Lake Waikaremoana

Lake Waikaremoana to us is one of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand


Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers – the cape of the gannets! There is no road that takes you to these wonderful animals. That means you walk about 10km (3 hours) there or book a tour and let a tractor pull you over the beach. Don't underestimate the tides: you can leave 2 hours after high tide, the best time to return is posted daily by the DoC (Department of Conservation) at the picnic site.

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After walking along the wonderful beach and enjoying the geological features of the cliffs on the right, you will reach the first colony on the “Black Reef” with about 1500 birds. 1km further on is the main colony with 2000 gannets. 1-month old chicks have their fluffy white plumage, with 3 months it gets greyer until it finally matches the colour of the old animals. With about 6 months the young animals fly to Australia and stay for 3-4 years. After that they come back to the west coast of New Zealand for their own first brood.

Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony

Cape Kidnappers gannet colony is one of the coolest bird places we have seen


Maraetotara Falls

The waterfall is with about 5m height and 15m width by far not the most spectacular waterfall, but definitely worth a visit. The most spectacular is the pool in front of the waterfalls! Beside the ice-cold water, such a deep pool is waiting for one that one can safely jump into the pool from the waterfall. Moreover, there is a swinging rope with which one can be swung into the pool from a height of 5 m. The Maraetotara Falls are a popular destination for every age group and therefore, especially during the week-ends or holidays, they are hopelessly overcrowded from noon on. But those who are there in the morning will have the pool almost for themselves!


Maraetotara Falls wait for a swim

The beautiful Maraetotara Falls wait for a swim in sunny conditions.


Te Mata Peak

According to the legend there was a war between two peoples. To stop the war, Hinerakau, daughter of the sheriff Pakipaki, was supposed to seduce the giant Te Mata and distract his thoughts from the war. The plan worked, the war came to a standstill, but ‘Hinerakau' also succumbed – namely ‘Te Mata'.

To end the unusual love affair between the two, the people gave the giant impossible tasks to prove their love. His last task was to eat his way through a mountain, so that the people had a better view of the valley. Te Mata' died doing this and with his body formed the mountains that are now called Te Mata Peak. Besides his bite into the rock, his contours should still be visible, from head to toe – and with an erection.

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Today Te Mata Peak is a beautiful viewpoint with some hiking trails, a mountain bike track and many information boards. When the weather is good, one can look at the surrounding fields and towns.


View from Te Mata Peak on the surrounding regions

Te Mata Peak offers spectacular views on the surroundings


Ocean Beach

White sandy beach, endless blue sea and a strong current – all this can be found at the Ocean Beach. Despite the “strong current” warning signs, an area of the long beach is often accessible for swimming and secured with a lifeguard. This area is relatively crowded but worth a dip in the cool water. The waves are ideal for floating on, with or without a bodyboard. The people around you give you security on the one hand and on the other hand the one or the other always has a funny idea and provides even more fun.


Ocean Beach with many people

Ocean Beach is a lovely (but well known) spot for a sunbath in summer


More posts to the New Zealand Regions

We have made a map for your easy navigation, with which you can visit the respective contribution to the region directly. Have a look around what we like in the other regions!


Questions, comments or additions

Do you still have a question or comment about our article? Or do you have an addition because you have found another great place? Then we look forward to your comment here under the article.


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