With its surprising cluster of art deco buildings, striking natural setting and big-time wineries, it’s near impossible not to be charmed by Napier. At the very least, this North Island city will see you happily sozzled on some of the best wine in the country – nay, the world – and that’s gotta count for something!
When you visit Napier, you have to start with the wineries. Head to Park Estate, Moana Park and Te Mata for tastings galore and private restaurants with impeccable views. Don’t forget to hit up Church Road Winery, either – it’s one of the oldest in New Zealand and the perfect place to learn about the history of the region. For more liver-friendly pursuits, Kaweka Forest Park is another Napier must. With its mass of scented pines and its famous hot springs, you won’t ever want to leave.
NAPIER’S TOP 10
10. Centennial Gardens There’s nothing better than coming here for a chill after a full day of sightseeing. Bring a picnic and some brews.
5. National Aquarium Watch Izzy the croc go about her daily biz, swim with sharks and check out the massive array of tropical fishies.
9. Sheepskin Factory Tour Watch the mammoth process that turns sheep into Ugg boots (and presumably other wool products, too). Probably not the best place for animal lovers…
4. NZ Wine Centre This place is cool as. Head to a tasting before hitting the aroma-awareness rooms and museum. And yes, there’s a gift shop. Woo!
8. Mohaka River White water rafting! Trust us – it’s even more fun than it looks.
3. Te Mata Peak The scary drive is totally worth it. Head to the top and check out the best view in Napier.
7. Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery Investigate the city’s history and then check out some traditional and modern art.
2. Mangatutu Hot Springs Sit back and relax amongst the greenery while you soak in the delicious, bubbling warmth.
6. Mission Estate Winery NZ’s oldest winery produces some of the best plonk there is. Bottoms up!
1. Town Centre Scope the art deco architecture while burying your face in a hearty meal.
Dorks unite! The annual Model and Hobbies Expo is held every October and is a total geek wonderland.
If you’re young, cool and wanna dance to the best that Oz and NZ have to offer, head to Spring Break at the Pettigrew Green Arena in November.
The Christmas Shoppe is awesome! Watch King George Hall transform into a total Christmassy paradise and fill to the brim with Kiwi-style decorations, trees, homemade cookies, crackers and other festive bits and bobs.
The Hawkes Bay Craft Market is a Napier institution! Held every second and fourth Saturday of the month (except in winter), hundreds of stalls come together to sell everything from homemade ointments and soaps to original artwork and homewares.
WHEN TO GO
- Napier’s summers rarely exceed 25°C (77°F). That being said, the sun is pretty harsh so don’t skip the sunscreen.
- Winters are similarly mild, with daytime lows of around 8ºC (46°F).
- July and August sees the heaviest rainfall. Head inside with a restorative bottle!
Visit our partner page Napier hotels by Hotel.com.au.
- If you’re coming from within NZ, it’s best to drive to Napier as the public transport is a bit craptacular.
- Nimon buses are a decent option. They operate around 15 services (good) but only from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (bad). There are also fewer buses on Saturdays and none at all on Sundays.
The small city of Napier offers a sumptuous and eclectic mix of attractions for visitors to feast on. Nature reserves, native Maori culture, Art Deco architecture and the lush vineyards of incredible Hawke's Bay combine to make the North Island city of 58,000 a great destination.
A precipitous ascent to the top of the wine world put this lovely pocket of New Zealand on the map years ago. With a climate more than suitable for agriculture, Hawke's Bay is a dream for food and wine lovers. Long summers and mild winters provide ideal conditions for viticulture in particular and indeed, produce world class results. Hawke's Bay Wine Country offers over three dozen winery tours and the fabulous Harvest Hawke's Bay Wine and Food Festival is a must. Napier is full of organic markets and innovative restaurants to explore and points of interest like the Waipatiki Scenic Reserve and Esk Valley offer incomparable beauty.
Attractions & Activities
Mission Estate Winery Waipatiki Scenic Reserve Esk Valley Te Mata National Aquarium of New Zealand Harvest Hawke's Bay Wine and Food Festival Hawke's Bay Wine Tours Art Deco Walks & Tours Bluewater Hotel Deco Decanted and Jazz Festival Coastal Walks
Restaurants & Nightlife
Mission Restaurant Clearview Winery Wok You Want Mongolian BBQ Provedore The Old Church Phoenix The Thirsty Whale Shed 2 Rosie O'Grady's Irish Bar Style Latinos
Napier enjoys a relatively warm, Mediterranean-like climate, with four distinct seasons.
- Summer (November to February) 11-24°C
- Fall (March to May) 7-23°C
- Winter (June to August) 5-15°C
- Spring (September to October) 7-19°C
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