International travel enthusiast and expat from New Zealand, currently living in Germany. https://indie-road.com
Published March 6th 2017
Stand on a sleeping giant
Te Mata Peak is a sleeping giant, just to the South of Napier, or so the Māori legend goes. Trying to prove his love, the giant, Te Mata, was forced to bite through the landscape to create a passage between the coast and the land, and he choked on the earth and fell. His body is supposedly what creates the iconic skyline today.
The peak itself offers a fantastic view over Havelock North, Hastings and Napier to the north, Waimarama and the coast to the south, and on a clear day you can sometimes see all the way to Mount Ruapehu in the Tongariro National Park to the west. If you are visiting Hawkes Bay, amongst all your winery tours and boutique restaurant visits, make sure to include a visit to the lookout on your itinerary.
The lookout is only half the fun. While it is possible to drive all the way to the top to the carpark and walk the last few meters to the summit, there is also the option of leaving the cark at one of the car parks on the winding road up and walking, which can also eliminate some scary sections of road. There are a multitude of different walks of varying difficulties and lengths which are all detailed on boards in or near the carparks. These trails cover a variety of different terrains such mountain ridge lines, giant redwood forests and luscious valleys to explore. My personal favourite is the Rongokako trail which follows a steep ridge line down into the forest. There are also mountain biking options and paragliding ramps in the area.
If you are pushed for time, perhaps it's best to drive to the top, appreciate the view and then leave, but if you have a spare day or even a spare afternoon I highly recommend packing a lunch and taking some time to explore this little pocket of nature. The easiest access is by car from Havelock North.