Napier is a small city tucked away on the North Island just on the east coast of New Zealand. Located in the Hawke Bay region, this little town is dubbed as the Art Deco capital of the world and for good reason – it is home to numerous buildings that show the unique architectural style, most of which have been erected after the 1931 earthquake.
Today, Napier has become renowned for more than just its beautiful and historic buildings. It has also become home to art and culture to thrive, a place to learn more about Maori culture, and where one can experience various landscapes and wildlife.
That said, visiting Napier is a must and there is certainly something for just about everyone. Take a look at these activities and you are sure to find one that tickles your fancy.
Check Out These Interesting Things to Do While in Napier, New Zealand
Take a Walk to See the Art Deco Architecture
Napier is not called the Art Deco capital of the world for nothing. For those who want to kick things off with what the town is known for, what better way to get acquainted with the city than to tour the city, right? You can do a self-guided tour or even join a walking tour and meet some people along the way.
An earthquake may have hit it in 1931, but you would have not known this as Napier rebuilt and preserved the art deco style in its central business district. Here, you will see a hundred or so buildings that reflect this quirky architectural style in just the CBD and more as you go along.
If you are not a fan of walking, you can also tour the city on bikes and vintage cars care of the Art Deco Trust in Napier. Some of the must-see buildings are the Masonic Lodge and the Criterion Hotel.
Visit the Marine Parade for a Day of Family Fun
Apart from the architectural landscape in Napier, one of the iconic landmarks in the city is no other than the Marine Parade. A seafront promenade, this stretch of this location is dotted with various art installations and even monuments, including the Pania of Reef statue, a figure from the Maori mythology.
The Marine Parade is also ideal for kids and kids at heart, especially with different activities to see and do. From children’s playgrounds and water fountains, such as the Sunken Gardens, which were created from establishments that sunk during the 1931 earthquake, everyone is sure something to do.
Wonder at the Marine Life at the National Aquarium of New Zealand
New Zealand is home to some of the most diverse array of marine life and the National Aquarium located in Napier can attest to this. This main attraction welcomes guests to a long and massive walk-through that comes with various sections. Fish, reptiles, sharks, stingrays, marine mammals, turtles, octopi and more can be found here.
Individuals who are fond of animals will be glad to know that there are close encounters with the penguins where visitors like you will have the chance to interact with and feed these creatures.
Do Chase Some Waterfalls
Whilst the popular song urges you to don’t go chasing waterfalls, we say do it. After all, Napier is teeming with some of the most breathtaking waterfalls you could ever come across – including Shine Falls, Tangoio Falls, Te Ana Falls, Maraetotara Falls, the Centennial Garden Waterfall and many others.
For those who want to swim and take a dip in the water, the Maraetotara Falls is worth visiting. As a matter of fact, this is a popular summer spot for locals and tourists alike, with its cool and green waters inviting you to stop and relax on a hot day.
Meanwhile, those who want to see two falls in one go can see both the Tangoio Falls and the Te Ana Falls one after the other. However, make sure to brace yourself as these require a bit of a walk. Although the trail can change depending on the weather, the views are no less superior, even wowing you with all its powerful glory.
Hike Up the Te Mata Peak
Hikers will have no shortage of paths to climb, not with the Te Mata Peak in the Hawke’s Bay region awaiting you. Standing 339 metres above the countryside, the peak will give you sweeping views of the bay unlike any other. On top of seeing Napier, hikers who take the challenge can also see the different mountain ranges nearby.
Besides the breathtaking views, you will certainly appreciate more of Napier upon learning that the Te Mata Peak holds one of the Maori legends close to heart. Here, chief Te, who fell in love with the daughter of his rival, proved his love by eating his way through the ranges.
Go Water Rafting at Mohaka River
Thrill-seekers will have a fantastic time seeing another side of Napier through a water rafting adventure through the Mohaka River. You can choose your own level of adventure and extreme and see what experience speaks to you.
Whatever you pick, you are bound to encounter some tunnels, cliff jumps, waterfalls, and more along the way. The wild rapids will surely make for a memorable time, particularly when you see the gorges, canyons, and other geological highlights that are unique to this place.
Round-Up Your Visit with a Tour of a Winery
End (or start) your day on a sweet note by visiting some of the finest and most renowned wineries in the region. You can take your pick from the Church Estate Winery and the Mission Estate – two of the most recognisable and respected wineries in the whole of New Zealand.
Apart from touring the vineyards and learning more about how wines are made, you can enjoy strolling through the picturesque lanes and rolling hills. Of course, sampling delicious wines such as chardonnays, sauvignon blancs and merlots are the highlight of the show, especially when paired with equally delectable local cheeses.