Napier Travel Guide
We had a wonderful time for the whole month that we were away and a holiday never to be forgotten supported by the hundreds of photographs we took.” – David and Libby Hutt (UK)
Napier, the city by the sea, is renowned for its 1930s Art Deco architecture, events such as the Brebner Print Art Deco Weekend in February, stately Norfolk pines, surrounding wineries, local fresh produce and national tourist attractions.
Supported by a mediterranean climate and over 2,200 hours of sunshine a year this popular year-round destination boasts a vibrant cafe culture amongst the splendour of the Art Deco buildings. Around 30 cafes are within walking distance of the central city area, while Ahuriri, just over Bluff Hill, is home to a furthur cluster of upmarket establishments.
Napier oozes fun and adventure and a visit to the attractions of Marine Parade is a must. Marine Parade overlooks the Pacific Ocean and out towards Cape Kidnappers, home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony. A full day can be taken visiting Ocean Spa hot pools and swimming complex, the Hawke’s Bay Museum, the National Aquarium of New Zealand, or get splashed by the dolphins and seals at Marineland of New Zealand.
A landmark of Napier is Bluff Hill, which is home for many Napier residents and provides views of the town beaches of Perfume Point and Westshore, past the newly upgraded airport and out towards Whirinaki. Bluff Hill also overlooks the Port of Napier, one of New Zealand’s busiest ports, transporting timber, local fruit and meat products to worldwide destinations. Over summer luxury cruise liners berth.
Napier has accommodation to fit all budgets from boutique hotels, holiday homes, backpacker lodges, hotels, motels, holiday parks and homestays. For the shopper there are antique shops, art galleries, and studios of potters, wood turners and craftsman.
After a long day taking in the sights, revitalize yourself by sampling some of Hawke’s Bay’s award winning wines and fresh Bay produce from one of the many restaurant, café and winery menus.
Napier is known as the Art Deco city, so it’s not surprising that locals and visitors alike can be spotted sporting Art Deco garb. Although this usually occurs in February when Napier celebrates during the Brebner Print Art Deco Weekend, it could in fact happen anytime, especially when “Bertie” is out and about. Bertie is the face of and ambassador for Art Deco and often pops up during the Art Deco Trust guided walks around the many fine examples of Art Deco architecture.
Art Deco revelry is not only confined to summer, newly launched Deco Decanted weekend in June proving very popular.
Napier was redesigned in the Art Deco style after the devastating Hawke’s Bay earthquake in 1931. Nowhere else can you see such a variety and concentration of buildings in Art Deco style. The unique style reflects the influence of Frank Lloyd Wright and the Chicago School in the buildings of local architect Louis Hay with some incorporating Maori culture in their motifs and features. Buildings not to be missed include the National Tobacco Company in Ahuriri, The Daliy Telegraph Building, residential homes of Marewa and Taradale’s McDonald’s McDeco, one of only two Art Deco McDonald’s in the world.
There are many informative Art Deco tours, most conducted by the Art Deco Trust. Walking tours leave from the Napier i-SITE on Marine Parade every morning at 10am and afternoon tours leave the Art Deco shop in Tennyson Street, next to the Clive Square Gardens at 2pm. Or, if you want to see the sights at your own pace, grab one of several available Art Deco Tour booklets and go exploring. Tours have the option of taking you through downtown Napier, through the suburbs of Marewa and Taradale, on to Hastings and Havelock North.
Hastings has some Art Deco buildings of note but its most significant buildings were redesigned to a Spanish Mission theme after the 1931 earthquake.
Napier Quick Facts
- Location: East Coast, North Island
- Known Locally For: Art Deco Architecture, Wine, Gannetts
- Towns near Napier: Hastings (18 minutes), Havelock North (22 minutes), Waipawa (58 minutes)
- Distance From Auckland: Approx 422 km, 262 miles – 6 hours 35 minutes by vehicle.
Napier & Hawkes Bay Short Break Holidays
Cycle around the vineyards, soar above Hawkes Bay in a hot air balloon, sample gourmet food and wine, experience superb kiwi hospitality, and some of the best golf courses in the world all residing in the region of Hawkes Bay & the city of Napier.