Long before we reached Hastings we couldn’t fail to notice the number of cyclists whizzing along the proliferation of trails adjacent to the state highway. Hawkes Bay has really geared up for cycling as a leisure activity.

It has more than 200km of mainly limestone trails not just near the highway but with loops and deviations out into the wider area. In many cases the routes have been reclassified as recreation trails to acknowledge the explosion of use, not just by cyclists, but also for walkers, runners and those in training for other sports or personal fitness.

Cape Kidnappers beach An abundance of apple trees

Napier’s Art Deco event was looming, which may have explained the number of RVs parked at beaches and in reserves. They were everywhere we looked, and as another indication that cycling’s become a real phenomenon, a good third of those RVs had cycles hooked on their backs. As well, there’s some fairly intensive marketing of the Easter ‘Big Easy’ cycle ride.

Although we knew we were in an area famed for its produce, we were astounded by the rows and rows of apple trees, looking most attractive with their ripening fruit. Hawkes Bay is of course justly famous for its produce but until we actually saw it, we hadn’t realised how many acres this related to in real terms. And fruit – how can you beat it?

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