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Napier & Hawke's Bay Backpackers & Hostels

This area should be really named ‘Wine Country’! The area is one of NZ’s warmest and driest regions making it a great place to visit, as well as grow grapes! And if you are a fan of the Art Deco scene then Hawke’s Bay is the place for you or if submerging yourself in the Maori culture is more your thing, then the area is steeped in Maori history. The other major towns and cities of the region are Napier, Hastings and Havelock North.

Currently 11 hostels in this area

Filter by Location: View All , Hastings (1), Hawke's Bay (4), Napier (6)

A working hostel set in a comfortable character villa with large rooms, high ceilings and a homely feel. We are also located close to many work places like orchards.
Work Available
We are a working backpackers helping with work and transport for long term stays. More of a home for international guests.
TV Room | BBQ area | Quiet location but 2 minutes to town and beach | unlimited WiFi

One of the remarkable features of New Zealand is how unique and distinct its regions are from their neighbours, and Hawke’s Bay is striking in this respect. Bordering with Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Gisborne, all renowned for the damp climate and hilly forest terrain, Hawke’s Bay is by contrast dry, flatter and warmer all year round.

Set against the bottle opener-shaped bay from which the region takes its name, Hawke’s Bay is famous across the world for its excellent wine. Even the notoriously stubborn pinot noir grape flourishes here, enjoying warm but mild sunlight during the day, then cooled at night by the ocean breeze. You can understand why the residents of Hawke’s Bay have reacted in the same way.

Although it was used as a whaling station when first discovered, Hawke’s Bay did not suffer as much conflict between Maori tribes and early European settlers, and was relatively untouched by the New Zealand Wars. By contrast, there was a higher degree of inter-marrying, with Europeans taking Maori wives to increase their influence and standing.

French Missionaries introduced wine grapes to the region, other agriculture and farming flourished, and today Hawke’s Bay maintains its unique identity with a more subtle tourism and quieter beaches along the coast. It is sparsely populated, with over 80% of the population situated around Hastings and Napier, but even further out towns and villages are few and far between, with long valleys separating them.


Set inland from the coast, Hastings is the commerical capital of the region. Still home to quite a small population (just over 80,000 at the last count), wineries and agriculture have given it a wealth and prestige beyond its size, and it is a major tourist draw for visitors to the country. As you’d expect, there is an abundance of wineries to visit, offering tours and tastings. Try the Te Mata Estate, housed on a heritage sight which was the first in New Zealand to be protected under conservation law for its viticulture history. Further out is the Craggy Range Vineyard, which makes and excellent watering hole before attempting to climb the nearby Te Mata Peak.

Heretaunga Street is regarded as the main thoroughfare, cutting through the heart of the city. You’ll find plenty of bars and restaurants, as well as many of the Art Deco themed heritage buildings. If you want to stay in the centre, there’s a Top 10 situated in the pretty Windsor Park, which is also home to a waterslide amusement park and mini-golf. Famous throughout the region is the Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market, held every Sunday at the A&P Showgrounds, not far from Windsor Park. With over eighty stall holders, it’s not just your typical British farmer’s market, but is more like a fully fledged food festival with everything from local honey to Mexi-Kiwi treats.


The centre of Napier is famed for its Art Deco design, which is functional as well as visually striking. After a major earthquake struck in 1931, much of the city required rebuilding. The team of architects tasked with rebuilding were all adherents of the Art Deco style, and such was their enthusiasm that it took only two years to rebuilt. Many of the streets are redolent of 1920s America – not quite Chrysler Building, but more Sedgwick Theatre. The third weekend in February plays host to Art Deco Weekend, where a street festival is held in 1920s regalia.

Contrasting with the stylish Art Deco of the centre is the sprawling industrial complex of Napier Port at the Northern tip of the city. If you’re fond of New Zealand wine, avocadoes or kiwis, chances are this is where they’ve started their voyage to your glass or plate. The long seafront walk from Bluff Hill to Awatoto is especially pleasant. You can take a tour of the decommissioned Napier Prison (with views over Hawke’s Bay, surely one of the best places in the world to be a prisoner), or head down to the National Aquarium of New Zealand on Marine Parade. You’ll also find plenty of backpacker accommodation along the waterfront.

Hawke’s Bay

As mentioned, this is a very sparsely populated region of New Zealand, so after you’ve enjoyed the relative bustle of Hastings and Napier, take a trip up the coast for some solitude. There are beach campsites along the way at Waipatiki and Waikare, and if you want to experience the very tip of the region, head for the Mahia Scenic Reserve Track. This semi-coastal walk is one of the most understated and secluded in New Zealand, and there’s every chance you’ll have it all to yourself.

All Other Backpacker Hostels in This Area

The Waterfront Lodge
217 Marine Parade, Napier
+64 (0)6 835 3429
Hicks Bay Motel
5198 Te Araroa Road, Hicks Bay
+64 (0)6 864 4880
Criterion Art Deco Backpackers
48 Emerson Street, Napier
+64 (0)6 835 2059
Stranded in Paradise
21 Potae Street, Tokomaruy Bay
+64 (0)6 864 5870
The Art House
259 Marine Parade, Napier
+64 (0)6 835 5575
Toad Hall Backpackers
Cnr Shakespeare Road & Brewster Street, Napier
+64 (0)6 835 5555
Sharika Farmstay By The Beach
Mac Auley Lane, Porangahau, Central Hawkes Bay
+64 (0)6 8555 272
Stables Lodge Backpackers
370 Hastings Street, Napier
+64 (0)6 835 6242
Archie’s Bunker
14 Herschell Street, Napier
+64 (0)6 833 7990