Morning view from Te Mata Peak, Napier, New Zealand

Things to do in  Napier

A work of art deco

You’d be forgiven for thinking time had stood still in Napier. With its downtown rebuilt after an earthquake in the 1930s, this North Island coastal city is a veritable museum of art deco architecture. The city embraces its vintage vibes—there’s even an annual Art Deco Festival. But the city isn’t stuck in the past, and there are plenty of things to do in Napier. Go wine tasting in the surrounding Hawke’s Bay region, admire the gannet colony of Cape Kidnappers, or hike the summit of Te Mata Peak.

Top 3 attractions in Napier

Mission Estate Winery

New Zealand produces some of the world’s most renowned, award-winning wines, and Mission Estate Winery on the outskirts of Napier is where it all began. Founded in 1851, Mission Estate was started by missionaries who journeyed from France with little more than a dream and a couple of vines. Now, nearly two centuries later, Mission Estate continues to operate as one of New Zealand’s best wineries, and is a staple on any shore excursion or wine tasting tour of Napier.Head down the tree lined driveway toward the old fashioned estate and its fountain, and you'll immediately fall for the history and regal charm of the area. Step outside on the hilltop veranda for a view of the vineyard landscapes leading back to Napier’s downtown or to sip in the sun protected by the shade of one of the winery's big, white outdoor umbrellas.More

Church Road Winery

Like a stone monastery rising up from the vines of Napier’s fertile plains, Church Road Winery is one of the oldest and finest Hawke’s Bay wineries. Established in 1897, this vineyard was the first in all of New Zealand to release a Cabernet Sauvignon, and when bottles hit shelves in 1949 they were instant New Zealand classics. Fast-forward over half a century, and Church Road Winery has been completely renovated and is still one of Napier’s best. Aside from the a la carte restaurant on site and imposing cellar door, where rows of wine barrels stand in for pews you might find in a dimly lit church, one of the best parts of visiting Church Road winery are the daily cellar tours. Learn the history of Church Road Winery and the time-honed winemaking process, and pair the wines with succulent foods in an intimate, boutique tasting area. You’ll also find a wine museum beneath the tasting area, where some of the country’s oldest wine relics are housed in concrete vats. Throughout the tour you can talk with the staff about wine and the Hawke’s Bayterroir, and elevate your level of wine expertise at one of New Zealand’s best wineries.More

Hawke's Bay

Hawke’s Bay is a large bay in the eastern North Island, as well as the name of the region in which the bay is found. The main towns are Napier and Hastings; the two are often just referred to as Napier-Hastings. Hawke’s Bay is famous for its quality wine and the 1930s architecture. More

Top activities in Napier

Best of Napier & Hawkes Bay Tour
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Scenic Te Mata Peak Tour by Supertrike
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2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour

2.5-Hour Napier Art Deco Tour

Private Sightseeing Tour + wine tasting (4 hrs)
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All about Napier

When to visit

The beaches and vineyards of Hawke’s Bay are perennially popular with summer vacationers, and Napier sees the majority of its visitors from December through February. Joining the crowds for the Art Deco Festival in February is great fun, and more than 40,000 people come to Napier to relive the jazz era and celebrate with period costumes and vintage motors. Alternatively, the sunny spring months of October and November are often a great time to bag a bargain on a beach vacation.

Getting around

Having your own transport is handy when visiting Napier, as many of the city’s attractions, beaches, and outdoor adventures are beyond walking distance. If you don’t want to rent a car, opt for a bike or e-bike—there are more than 125 miles (200 kilometers) of cycling trails. Public buses run around the city and between Napier and neighboring Hastings, while the Hawke’s Bay wine region is best visited as part of a guided tour (you’ll want a designated driver, after all!).

Traveler tips

On the northwest shore of Napier, the port-side neighborhood of Ahuriri is the city’s street art hub, where you’ll find the large-scale murals known as the Sea Walls. After following the Sea Wall trail, head down to Ahuriri Estuary to enjoy bird-watching and go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding at Pandora Pond, then work your way through the district’s growing list of cafés, restaurants, and independent boutiques.


People Also Ask

Is Napier, NZ, worth visiting?

Yes. Napier is known for its art deco architecture, and there’s nowhere like it in New Zealand. After admiring the buildings, you can also visit the gannet colony at Cape Kidnappers, enjoy views from Te Mata Peak, and explore the beaches, wineries, and cycling trails of Hawke’s Bay.

What is Napier best known for?

Napier is New Zealand’s art deco capital, so called for its architecture of the period—the city was rebuilt in the distinctive art deco style after an earthquake in the 1930s. It’s mainly known for its wide variety of period architecture, which includes stripped classical, Spanish mission, and Māori-influenced art deco.

Is Napier a small town?

No, Napier is New Zealand’s ninth largest city by population and would be considered a large town or a small city. Although the city only has about 60,000 residents, it’s still too big to get around on foot—it’s about a 25-minute drive from the southern reaches to the north.

What are three interesting facts about Napier?

Napier has one of the world’s most extensive and varied collections of 1930s art deco architecture. Napier’s Pania of the Reef statue on Marine Parade is a photo favorite—the mythological Maori figure resembles Copenhagen’s famous Little Mermaid statue. Napier Prison, now a museum, is the oldest in New Zealand.

How many days do you need in Napier?

While you can admire Napier’s art deco-style downtown on a day trip, it’s worth spending three days to a week in the beachside city. You can visit Cape Kidnappers and Te Mata Peak and use Napier as a basecamp for wine-tasting and cycling tours of the Hawke’s Bay wine region.

Does Napier have a beach?

Yes. Napier has two main beaches—Napier Beach on the east and Westshore Beach to the north—and both have calm waters ideal for swimming and families. Napier also sits along the south shore of the Hawke’s Bay region, which has 185 miles (300 kilometers) of coastline and around 20 beaches.

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