OPINION: I wasn't overly surprised when some people scoffed at the news that Hastings had been awarded the title of New Zealand's most beautiful city by anti-litter agency Keep New Zealand Beautiful on Thursday evening.
Hastings, or Heretaunga, is often hidden in the shadow of its twin-city sibling, Napier.
And, while both cities are beautiful in their own way, it's about time Hastings spent a bit of time in the limelight.
I should declare Hastings is my home town. I grew up on Park Road South, so if you think parts of this article sound biased, then you're probably right.
So, for those of you that need a bit more convincing about Hastings being worthy of the title, then here are a few things to know.
Much like Napier, Hastings was essentially flattened in the 1931 earthquake which had a magnitude of 7.8, and lasted for two and a half minutes.
This resulted in the reconstruction of almost an entire city, and much like Napier, the art deco trend at the time meant many of the city's buildings were built in this style.
Another important piece of Hastings history worth mentioning, but is probably more well known than the earthquake, is the theme park, Fantasyland.
Modelled on Disneyland in Anaheim (almost to the point of breaching copyright), Fantasyland was one of New Zealand's most popular destinations throughout the 80s and 90s.
The park eventually closed, and was transformed into something else worthy of a mention, Splash Planet water park.
As well as the massive Splash Planet, Hastings and the wider region has some of the most stunning rivers in the country.
The view of the Tukituki River from the top of Te Mata Peak may be one of the most beautiful and breathtaking views in Aotearoa.
Flowing 117 kilometres from the Ruahine Ranges, the river snakes its way between some of the regions most well known wineries.
Anyone familiar with wine will recognise some, if not all of the winery brands that come from Hastings. Craggy Range, Trinity Hill, Stonecroft, Vidal. The list could go on and on.
The region's reputation for cultivating some of the best apples and pears in the country has crossed over into its wine production too.
Things to do:
Rush Munro's Ice Cream:
Undoubtedly the worst part of not being able to consume dairy has been missing out on the amazing feijoa ice cream from Rush Munro's. If you've had it, you'll know.
A visit to the Ice Cream Gardens was a very rare treat when I was a child, but it's now an often visited famous Hawke's Bay landmark and brand.
The Clock Tower:
Right in the centre of town is the clock tower which contains the bells recovered from the post office following the 1931 earthquake.
The clock sits next to a water feature which separates Heretaunga Street East from Heretaunga Street West, what makes this water feature just a little more different is that the main train line goes right through the middle of it.
Te Mata Peak:
As you drive along Heretaunga Street heading east, right in the middle of your view is the iconic Te Mata Peak.
Despite being told throughout my entire childhood that if you looked closely, you'd be able to see the 'sleeping giant' that is Te Mata Peak. It took me until the age of 12 when my family moved to Auckland to finally see the shape of the giant resting chief laying down.
Can you spot him?
Have you visited Hastings, or are you a local with some tips of places to visit? Comment in our Facebook Travel group with your recommendations.
Dan Lake is Newshub's Travel Editor