Hastings is one of the sunniest places in New Zealand, which is excellent news if you’re travelling on a budget. The region’s free and low-cost sights are a delight to explore on dry days in particular – whether you’re taking in Napier’s art deco architecture, lounging on Waimarama Beach or hiking around Te Mata Peak. There’s also a host of cheap hotels in Hastings – here’s our pick of the best, all bookable on Culture Trip.
Road tripping? Park up at Portmans Motor Lodge and stretch your legs with a swim in the little outdoor pool or a walk to central Hastings, just a few minutes away. Friendly hosts Kaye and Brian keep their simple studios and apartments spick and span – some even have spa baths. For a budget-friendly day out, take a scenic drive to the coast; Waimarama Beach, with its views of craggy Bare Island, is not to be missed.
This cheap accommodation in Hastings, on the eastern edge of town, features generous apartments, an enclosed salt water pool and a barbecue area. Hire bikes from the motel to tackle some of Hawke’s Bay’s best off-road cycle trails, or simply pootle down the road to sample the local tipples at Black Barn Vineyards and Te Mata Estate Winery. Sweet-toothed travellers won’t want to miss a trip to neighbouring Arataki Honey, when you can learn about beekeeping and the magic of manuka.
All 20 rooms at this central Hastings motel include a spa bath – ideal for soaking away those aches and pains after a long drive. You also get free access to the pool and gym next door. Hawke’s Bay is home to the world’s largest gannet colony; join a tour of Cape Kidnappers peninsula to see them in all their squawking glory. For a quieter but equally beautiful bird-watching adventure, wander along the Pekapeka Wetlands walkway, just a 10-minute drive out of town.
At these basic self-catered digs, you’ll enjoy cooked breakfasts delivered to your door (if you’re not frying up your own in the kitchenette, of course), free access to the local gym and – during the winter at least – toasty toes, thanks to an electric blanket. You’re located right on Hastings’ commercial Heretaunga Street; walk 10 minutes south and you’ll find that DIY stores and supermarkets soon give way to trendy cafés and boutiques.
With a sparkling outdoor pool, a barbecue area and spacious apartments, complete with private shrub-lined patios, host Tania has created an affordable, homely space ideal for families and groups. Planning a big day out? Water babies will love Splash Planet, Hastings’ most famous family attraction – the water park is just a 20-minute walk or three-minute drive away from the lodge.
These studios and apartments are well located to explore the best of Hastings; just ask the friendly motel team for their top tips. Arts and culture lovers should head to Civic Square, where you’ll find Hastings City Art Gallery; a mural celebrating the town’s multiculturalism and heritage emblazoned on the wall of a library; and a collection of Māori carvings (pou), which represent important Māori ancestors from the region.
Check into a pristine room at this motel in Taradale, a quiet suburb south of Napier, and you’ll have some of Hawke’s Bay’s best experiences all on your doorstep. All you need to decide is which to try first. Do you head north to chow down at Napier’s finest farm-to-table restaurants? Or are the wineries and chocolate museums to the south more tempting? Perhaps the coast is calling, or the inland hiking trails. Wherever you go, you’ll never be far from your comfy bed.
Beachfront location? Tick. Pool? Tick. Walkable town nearby? Tick. This Napier bolthole offers one of the best hotel deals in Hastings, with all the trappings of an epic summer getaway. For a few extra dollars, the rooms with Pacific Ocean views are worth the upgrade. Wander north along the coast to visit Napier Prison (now a riveting museum) and the sculpted Centennial Gardens, complete with a dazzling waterfall.
The aptly named Albatross sits on a sliver of land between Westshore Wildlife Reserve, Ahuriri Estuary and the ocean – a fine vantage point for spotting sea birds. Both the airport and the centre of Napier are just a five-minute drive away, too, so you can grab a bite to eat and fly away like a gull if the mood strikes; but we imagine you’ll want to linger, not least to take a dip in the motel’s saltwater pool and hot tub.
This family-run motel has been welcoming guests since 1969, and has developed into a mini resort with kid-friendly facilities including a pool, games room and trampoline. Grown ups are looked after, too, with hammocks and a hot tub. Don’t miss a trip to Church Road Winery – dating back to 1897, it’s one of New Zealand’s oldest; save room in your suitcase for a bottle or two of the McDonald Series Chardonnay.
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