It’s safe to say that 2020 has been one of the weirdest years for all of us. COVID-19 has thrown the whole world into chaos, however here in New Zealand, we’re lucky enough to be one of the few countries in the world where we are able to travel freely within our own country – for that we should all feel very grateful.

With unlimited opportunities to travel within our own borders, this year will be like no other. More Kiwis than ever will be taking the opportunity to ‘explore their own backyard’ and give support to local businesses who will really be feeling the pinch from the lack of international travellers. With so many hotspots to choose from, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the most popular destinations here in New Zealand starting off with Napier.

In this post, we’re going to answer some of the most popular questions people are asking on Google – Is Napier worth visiting? What is Napier known for? What is there to do in Napier for free? We’ve also got a quick-fire list of 10 of the biggest reasons Napier should be on your summer hitlist.

Let’s GO!

Is Napier worth visiting?

Simple answer – YES!

If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit Napier, then this should be your year. From our own experience, as well as the feedback we get from customers, Napier is 100% worth visiting and there is no better time than the summer. Check out our 10 biggest reasons for visiting Napier below and discover why Napier is definitely worth visiting.

What is Napier known for?

Napier is a popular hotspot for tourists and is known for a number of things including:

  • 1930s Art Deco architecture
  • Vineyards and wine
  • Gannet colony
  • World-class golf at Cape Kidnappers
  • National Aquarium of New Zealand
  • Sea Walls collection of painted murals

We’ve covered off a lot of these in our top 10 reasons to visit Napier below so make sure you carry o reading and discover more about what Napier is known for.

What is there to do in Napier for free?

Napier is a fantastic city for exploring and you will find many of the attractions and destinations listed below are free (or at least have a free alternative). From taking your own guided tour of the art deco buildings to riding your bike down Marine Parade, Napier is not short on free things to do. Of course, there are plenty of paid activities too, but Napier caters for travellers on all budgets.

10 reasons why Napier should be on your summer hitlist

No matter your budget, our top ten has got you covered. From hiking to the top of Te Mata to enjoying some of the region’s finest wines, we’re sure you will find something in our list to get you excited about a trip to Napier this summer.

1.      Te Mata Peak


If you are looking for some Insta-worthy photos when you are down in the Hawke’s Bay, it doesn’t get much better than Te Mata Peak. Sitting at 399m tall, Te Mata Peak is one of the most popular attractions in the Napier area. There are some great walking and mountain biking trails all through Te Mata Park and the views are breathtaking. If you’re an early bird, the sunrise from the top is spectacular.

2.      Wineries


New Zealand has a number of world-class wine-growing regions and the Hawke’s Bay is right up there with the best of them. There are a number of famous wineries located in the region including Church Road and Craggy Range. With spectacular wines to match the spectacular views, you can book on a guided wine tour or do a self-drive experience (soft drinks for the driver though!). Many of the wineries have amazing restaurants attached to them as well so make sure you visit around lunch or dinner time.

3.      Marine Parade


Napier itself is dominated by Marine Parade – a 3km stretch right on the waterfront where you will find water fountains, garden displays, statues, mini-golf, painted murals, and more. It’s a great place to take a stroll, day or night, or dig out your roller skates or skateboard and go for a ride.

4.      Art Deco Tour


Whether you hop on a guided tour or simply pick up a map from the i-Site and do a self-guided tour, the art deco buildings located throughout Napier are a must-see. On a guided tour, you will get some great stories and history behind the buildings including details of the 1931 earthquake which caused the rebuilding of Napier and the style that has made it unique here in New Zealand.

5.      National Aquarium of New Zealand


Located on Marine Parade, the National Aquarium of New Zealand is a great place to visit and is home to a wide range of saltwater, freshwater and land animal exhibits from New Zealand and around the world. The 1.5 million litre Oceanarium showcases the varied aquatic species that exist in the adjacent Hawke Bay, including shark, stingray and other reef fish. You can journey through the Oceanarium inside the amazing underwater viewing tunnel via a 50m travelator as fish swim and feed, above and around you.

6.      Cape Kidnappers


Cape Kidnappers is a wonderful place to visit and is home to the world’s largest mainland gannet colony. Reaching the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony and best coastline views can only be achieved at low tide by following the Cape Kidnappers Track (5 hours return) from Clifton. There are tour options available but it’s a great day out to plan your own adventure. There is also a world-class golf course at Cape Kidnappers for golf-lovers out there.

7.      Botanical Gardens

 

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We love a good botanical garden here in New Zealand and Napier is no different. The Napier botanical gardens are situated in an 18-acre floral oasis in the heart of the city. At the lower end of the park there is a small aviary, duck pond and the remnants of two historic wells which were used over 100 years ago to help water and maintain the site. Several walking tracks wind through lush plantings up to the top end of the gardens and there is plenty to keep you busy for a morning or afternoon.

8.      Bluff Hill Lookout


Whilst Te Mata Peak might offer up some of the best views of the region, if you are looking for something a bit closer to the centre of Napier, the Bluff Hill Lookout is a must. The steep climb takes you to the site of a World War II Battery. A plaque commemorates the presence of the soldiers at the site, while there are plenty of seating areas and garden displays to enjoy while taking in the views of Napier City and the Port of Napier. For those who are feeling active, it will take around 35 minutes to walk from the city centre or it’s just a short seven-minute drive.

9.      Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trail


The Hawke’s Bay Cycle Trail is one of the best ways to explore the region and you can either bring your own bike or hire one when you get down here. The cycle trail is also a great way to explore the vineyards without having to worry about driving! There are a number of different sections of the trail including the gentle coastal section called the Water Ride or for the more adventurous, the Landscapes Ride or Wineries Ride.

10.  Whitewater Rafting on the Mohaka River


New Zealand is a great spot for anyone wanting to try whitewater rafting and Napier is home to one of the best rivers in New Zealand for whitewater rafting. The stunning Mohaka River gorge has everything from scenic half-day grade 2 raft trips, an awesome grade 3 raft trip, to the best grade 4/5 rafting New Zealand has to offer. With heaps of cliff jumps, river floats, tunnels, waterfalls, and some epic rapids, it’s a great way to spend a full or half-day down in Napier.

Summary

Hopefully, we have found something to tickle your Napier fancy in our list above. This is just a small taste of what you can expect from a trip to Napier this summer to make sure you check out our Hawke’s Bay Destination Guide as well as some of our other blog posts below and get planning your trip to Napier this summer.

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