Napier and its pleasant sister city, Hastings make up one of New Zealand’s most attractive regional centres.

They serve an area of vividly green rolling hills, alive with sheep and river flats enriched with orchards, market gardens, vineyards and olive groves, interspersed with eye catching Art Deco and Spanish Mission architecture.

Napier is reached via the Pacific Coast Highway from Auckland or the Thermal Explorer Highway from Rotorua. The city centre has the world’s finest collection of Art Deco commercial buildings. The superb Marine Parade with its myriad attractions provides the relaxed atmosphere of a typical English seaside resort, blessed with a sunny climate. The range of activities is quite diverse as follows:-

Walk along Marine Parade for a good introduction to Napier’s charms
This boulevard is lined with stately Norfolk pines and boasts amusements like mini golf, swimming pools, roller blade rink, sunken garden, botanic gardens and a bronze statue of Pania of the Reef.

Visit the outstanding National Aquarium on the Marine Parade
See schools of fish in close formation, sharks, turtles, piranhas and our unique tuatara lizard.

Call in to the Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery
It features moa-hunter artefacts, dinosaur fossils and a moving video on the 1931 earthquake, which caused Napier to be reborn in Art Deco style.

Stroll through the traffic-free centre city malls
Combine stress-free shopping with a self-guided tour of the Art Deco precincts following the official visitor guide brochure.

Climb Bluff Hill, which rises 102 metres above the Port of Napier
The coastline views extend from Mahia Peninsula down to Cape Kidnappers and the colonial architecture of the homes is impressive.

Follow the local Art and Craft, Antiques and Heritage Building trails
These can be walked or driven and guide maps are available at Visitor Centres.

Set out on the Hawke’s Bay Classic Wine Trail
There are numerous wineries with free tastings and cellar door sales including New Zealand’s first commercial vineyard, Mission Estate.

Drive to the summit of Te Mata Peak, 11 km from Hastings
The 360° panorama of Hawke’s Bay countryside is breathtaking.

Spend time in Hastings – a city of beautiful parks
Cornwall Park has an aviary and authentic Chinese garden. Frimley Park has a superb rose garden. Fantasy Land leisure park and Splash Planet thermal water park are worth a visit too.

Visit Havelock North, which is famed for its private gardens
See the Keirunga Gardens and visit the largest honey producers in the Southern Hemisphere. Don’t miss the surprising Art Deco McDonalds fast food outlet.

Drive to Clifton 20 kms south of Napier and visit Cape Kidnappers.
The world’s most famous gannet colony has up to 15,000 birds between November and February.

Suggestions, Edits and Additions

At New Zealand’s Information Network we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date, so if you have any suggestions, edits or additional content you would like to see on our “Free & Low Cost Activities” articles, please do not hesitate to login and comment (below) or Contact us directly, and we will consider these on our next update.