Sure, you could visit the world’s third friendliest city, Queenstown, or you could head back up north and take in the breathtaking views of Lake Taupo. Or maybe the hustle and bustle of New Zealand’s capital Wellington is more your thing?
Can’t decide? Okay, how about you visit this year’s winner of the country’s most beautiful city: Hastings.
Hawke’s Bay City was crowned top spot in the annual ‘Keep New Zealand Beautiful’ award and took out the other candidates who could’ve easily snatched up the sought after title.
The small East Coast destination has something else to be proud of. The city that holds about 67,000 people also won two more awards on Thursday – the country’s best environmental initiative and best public loo.
Mayor Lawrence Yule said winning the awards means a great deal to the community, and the efforts the people of Hastings and the Council put into making the city “beautiful”. Lawrence agreed the award is something “we are planning to celebrate”.
Mr Yule added: “Getting this national award reminds us just how very lucky we are to live in such a fantastic place, and gives us just the impetus we need to keep on improving to make this New Zealand’s most livable city.”
‘Keep Hastings Beautiful’ is a project that the city has been working on for some time. It aims to improve the community and make neighbourhoods a much more desirable place to call home.
In 2013, the completion of the William Nelson Skate Park in the heart of the city was met with positive reviews – especially amongst teenagers who now had a “fun and safe place to go and stay out of trouble,” one youth wrote on Facebook.
However, this city has more to offer than a one-of-a-kind water feature in the centre of the town’s CBD that glows at night, lush greenery or flash public toilets.
Hastings is known for it’s equally stunning coastal beaches Waimarama and Ocean – not to mention it’s New Zealand’s home to our only aquarium. And just a short drive from Hastings stands Te Mata Peak lookout – a full panoramic view of the entire suburbia from a 399m height.
With all that and more under its belt, Hastings will officially accept the coveted award at a gala dinner at Christchurch’s Rydges Latimer on September 5.