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East Coast and the Volcanic Zone Travel Guide

Hawke's Bay

Bounded by the Kaweka and Ruahine ranges, Hawke's Bay is known as the fruit basket of New Zealand. You can't travel far without seeing a vineyard or an orchard, and the region produces some of the country's finest wines. Roughly 25 years ago, a dry, barren area known as the Gimblett Gravels was about to be mined for gravel. Then an enterprising vine grower took a gamble and purchased

the land. The stony soil turned out to be a boon for grapevines because it retains heat, and now several wineries benefit from its toasty conditions. Chardonnay is the most important white variety here; you'll also find Sauvignon Blanc, Bordeaux varieties, and Syrah.

On the coast east of Hawke's Bay is Cape Kidnappers and its colony of gannets, a fascinating area that is home to as many as 15,000 of these large seabirds. To the south, the architecturally notable town of Hastings sits near the adorable town of Havelock North, known locally as "the Village," with the Te Mata Peak rising dramatically beyond.

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