Only a few minutes drive from Hastings in the town of Havelock North, is Te Mata Peak, a huge hill/mountain which can be driven up right to the top, where you can then have 360 degree views right over Hawkes Bay, Napier, Hastings, and other mountains and surrounding green rolling hills.
From Napier, head to Hastings, then Havelock North, and follow the signs to Te Mata Peak, about 30k's.
The Peak, is 400 metres above sea level, and was named after a Maori Chief Ta Mata O Rongokako, a giant of a man, who, acccording to legend, had the misfortune to fall for the beautiful daughter of the Heretaunga chief.
Amongst the challenges she set him to prove his love to her, was the task of eating his way through the hill. Unfortunately, he choked on a large rock and fell dead. The body of the chief and the large bite can be seen clearly on the skyline from Hastings.
The road up is quite steep and windy. There are also trails for walkers and mountain bikers. From the top, you can see for miles and miles, and the views are INCREDIBLE, this is one of the best lookouts for rural landscape.
DO NOT MISS IF IN THE AREA!
About 30 km’s from Napier and close to Havelock North lies Te Mata Peak. It is situated in the so called Te Mata Peak Trust Park. Accessible by car through a narrow winding and rather steep road to the top of this hill at a height of 399 metres.
The views from the look out are fabulous and we could see almost the whole of Hawke’s Bay, reaching from the Mahia Peninsula till Cape Kidnappers and rolling grasslands at the inland side. It is said the volcano Mt. Ruapehu is also visible. We did like most our visit in the late afternoon, because the soft light of the setting sun gives the landscape such a very special effect.
There are several walking tracks in the Te Mata Peak Trust Park.
We took an excursion on our way home to stop and see Te Mata Peak.
Te Mata stands tall at 400m over Hawkes Bay, and provides the best view stretching to the horizon in all directions. It is accessible up a steep awkward road from Havelock North, but a much more scenic way to approach the mountain is from Te Mata Road. After coming all the way from Clifton on the road to the east of the river, you pass beneath Te Mata Peak on the left as you scale the climb up from base of the valley.
At the top you are rewarded with the amazing panorama!!
A landmark of the town is Bluff Hill which is home for many residents who can afford the real estate and provides views of the town, beaches of Perfume Point and Westshore, past the newly upgraded airport and out towards Whirinaki. Bluff Hill also overlooks one of New Zealand's busiest ports (see pic 2), transporting timber, local fruit and meat products to worldwide destinations. Over summer luxury cruise liners berth.
Te Mata Peak is located near Havelock North 400m above sea level. It offers fabulous views of the Hawkes Bay from the top. It is possible to drive up or you could run, ride or walk if you were particularly keen!
Te Mata Maori legend
"According to Maori legend the Te Mata hillscape is a sleeping giant, with the hill being the body of Maori Chief, Te Mata O Rongokako. Rongokako, a giant of a man, preyed upon the Heretaunga. The Heretaunga Chief's daughter was very beautiful and after seeing her, he decided to woo rather than make war. She set him many seemingly impossible tasks, which he accomplished until she told him to eat his way through the hill. The giant began to plough his way through the hill but choked on a large rock and dropped to the ground where he still lies today." source: Te Mata Maori Legend