New Zealand’s Waitaki Whitestone Geopark has been established as a UNESCO Global Geopark, while Hawkes’ Bay has been recognised as the world’s newest Great Wine Capital.
These accreditations bolster the country’s tourism offerings and established New Zealand as a destination for travellers interested in wine, culture and nature.
Hawke’s Bay was crowned 12th Great Wine Capital Of The World, joining the ranks of esteemed global wine destinations such as Bordeaux (France), Bilbao (Spain), and Napa Valley (the US).
As New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region, Hawke’s Bay offers visitors an experience that combines Art Deco heritage, long vineyard lunches, and cellar door bike tours. Its inclusion in the esteemed Great Wine Capitals programme was secured after a rigorous selection process that evaluates a region’s wine-growing industry, historical significance, wine tourism offerings, educational opportunities, business environment, and overall appeal.
Meanwhile, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark has been officially designated as New Zealand’s first and Australasia’s only UNESCO Global Geopark, putting New Zealand among the list of only 48 countries globally that have earned this UNESCO designation.
The UNESCO accreditation highlights the region’s unique geological and cultural heritage and its commitment to sustainable development, education, and community engagement.
Located in the Canterbury and Otago regions of the South Island, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark covers an area of over 7,200km² and showcases diverse geological features, including limestone cliffs, glacial valleys, and ancient marine fossils.
With more than 40 geological sites to visit and activities for all types of travellers, key geo-sites within the park include the Elephant Rocks (featured in the movie The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe); the red cliffs of the Clay Cliffs; the iconic spherical Moeraki Boulders; as well as lesser known geo-attractions like the Valley of the Whales.
The Waitaki Whitestone UNESCO Global Geopark will also serve as an educational resource, providing opportunities for students and researchers to study the area’s geology and cultural heritage.