Lonely Planet gives Hawke's Bay rave write-up

By ROGER MORONEY

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Hawke's Bay has received a big thumbs-up in the latest edition of Lonely Planet's New Zealand guide - with one of the "physical" attractions gaining a top 12 spot in the "new recommendations" list.

The Bay's coastal cycle trail took a spot in the edition's list of new spots to check out - backed up by some glowing words for a few established diversions.

Of the cycleway, the authors noted "short, city scoots to hilly single-track shenanigans".

Not surprisingly, architecture and wineries got a big tick - backing up from last year's edition.

Five authors and more than 26 weeks of combined on-the-road research contributed to the 16th edition of Lonely Planet New Zealand, which is the world's bestselling guide to the country.

As with previous volumes, it contains the trademark honesty and opinion for which Lonely Planet is renowned.

Auckland gets a serve, described as "a much more vibrant city in the Rugby World Cup's wake ... but its public transport system is still a mess".

Wellington is "a wonderful city with a cocktail-and-caffeine-fuelled hospitality, while Hamilton is "surprisingly buzzy - but the road into town from Auckland is lined with dozens of unremarkable, traffic-noisy motels".

The Bay's Te Mata Peak look-out got its own little serve, with the authors noting it "still awaits its makeover".

Napier got a fine plug, although nothing out of the ordinary.

"Napier's claim to fame is undoubtedly its architecture, and a close study of these treasures could take several days. The place to start your Art Deco exploration is the home of the Art Deco Trust, the Deco Centre. You can also hire Art Deco-style bikes from here and set off on a self-guided tour of up to four hours."

Cape Kidnappers also grabbed attention.

"From mid-September to late April, Cape Kidnappers erupts with squawking gannets. These big birds usually nest on remote islands but here they settle for the mainland, completely unfazed by human spectators."

Hastings was described as the "bustling" centre of the fruitbowl, and also got a nod for its architecture from the 1930s.

Cuisine emerged in a note extolling the virtues of Vidals in Hastings, and the observation that there were some fine eateries, vineyards and icecream spots in the Bay, along with "a perplexing amount of pickle".

Cuisine also got a note in the piece on Wairoa.

"Not scintillating enough to warrant an extended stay, the town has a couple of points of interest, including an exceptional pie shop called Oslers."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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