Black Barn Summer Series. Picture / Supplied

Hot Things To Do In The Bay

Sizzle in the Bay this summer with our top picks of things to do from concerts and festivals, to exploring the outdoors on foot, bike or horseback

Black Barns Summer Series

Thousands are expected to flock to Black Barns Vineyards for one of the biggest summer concert seasons yet. Canadian music star Bryan Adams will be the headline act, something huge for the region, says event manager Francis de Jager. “Performing in the beautiful Tuki Tuki Valley venue, Black Barn Offsite, international concert experiences like these only give more credit to Hawke’s Bay as a destination.” Bryan will be supported by Kiwi icons Dave Dobbyn and the Jordan Luck Band and crowd favourites Fat Freddy’s Drop and Sol3 Mio will also rock the vines this summer.

READ: A Guide To Getting Around Hawke's Bay Wine Country

As for the best concert spot? Francis recommends the large flat-grassed terraces of the Amphitheatre. “Concert-goers sit on picnic rugs or sand-chairs with close, uninterrupted views of the stage and the whole of Hawke’s Bay as their backdrop. Every terrace is fairylit for concerts and the entire amphitheatre is surrounded by a circle of 50-year-old muscatel grapes.”

Art Deco Festival

The Art Deco Festival will ring in its 30th year in February and it’s set to be the best line-up yet. For five days the region will wind back to the 1920s and 30s, celebrating the glamorous era through music, fashion, cars and fun. This year’s programme includes over 250 events, 300 vintage cars and an extravagant Gatsby picnic for more than 5000 attendees — a slight upgrade since 1989.

READ: Scott Towers of Fat Freddy's Drop Shares His Food Tour of Hawke's Bay

“When the festival started there were seven events, 14 vintage cars and the Gatsby picnic had fewer than 30 people attend. It’s been quite a journey,” says festival director Glen Pickering. The festival not only commemorates Napier’s history but provides a connection to the current city. “It’s a celebration of who we are and what makes us unique.” Moses Mackay of Sol3 Mio and world-renowned jazz musician Nathan Haines will be providing the jazzy beats. Tremains Art Deco Festival, February 14-18.

Celebrate the glamour era of the 1920s and 30s at the Art Deco Festival. Picture / Supplied

Otatara Pa Reserve

On the outskirts of “art deco” Napier sits the remains of a much earlier settlement. Otatara Pa Reserve covers more than 10ha and is one of the largest and most prized pa sites in Hawke’s Bay. The hour-long circuit will take you up to views across Napier, Cape Kidnappers and out to sea. On a clear day you can even glimpse Ruapehu in the distance.

Cycle Trails

The best way to take in all Hawke’s Bay has to offer is on two wheels. With more than 200 km of cycle trails and plenty of options to suit your style, there’s really no excuse to go out for a spin. We recommend a relaxed ride looping through the western wine-growing area to visit the award-winning wineries — thankfully all are flat trails.

READ: Restaurant Review: Terroir at Craggy Range

Horse Treks

For an unforgettable experience, get set to saddle up in Hawke’s Bay. Try a river-meets-ocean trek and wander down picturesque river banks before taking a quick dip with your horse as you cross on to a secluded and scenic beach. Ocean waves will crash around you as you enjoy the spectacular coastline. Horse treks are available at

Explore Hawke's Bay's coastline, and take in the stunning scenery of Waipatiki Beach. Picture / Supplied.


  • Spend sunset at Ahuriri having a drink at the port while watching the fisherman wade in or kids bombing off the wharf. Finish with a stroll along the boardwalk and an icecream on the beach.
  • Take a walk up to Te Mata Peak through the majestic giant redwoods.
  • Check out the National Aquarium. There are sharks, stingrays and fish visible through the underwater viewing tunnel. Make sure to stick around for the penguin-feeding.
  • Head to Waipatiki Beach, just 20 minutes north of Napier, for a golden expanse of sand or the undeveloped gem of Ocean Beach close to Havelock North for beaches empty of people.

• To find out more, visit

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New Zealand Herald

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