Napier. Liveable, sunny, charismatic and charmingly Art Deco. It’s the kind of city that’s popular with mum and dad, but that doesn’t mean that you should be leaving it off your New Zealand itinerary.
Rebuilt after a devastating earthquake in 1931, Napier has that upbeat and old-school Hollywood charm found on palm tree lined boulevards and historic arches. I spent a weekend earlier this blustery March month exploring Napier. Seeking out the Art Deco architecture that it’s famous for, but also chasing the gritty street art, the innovative eateries, the wines, the nature, the culture.
Want to know where to go to see the best of Napier?
Mission Estate Winery
Moana Park Winery
The Hawkes Bay is New Zealand's oldest wine region, with a climate similar to Bordeaux. There are plenty of wine tasting tours on offer, so pick a sunny afternoon to sip Chardonnay and take your favourite bottle home with you.
The Masonic Hotel
The Sound Shell
Napier's Art Deco architecture is scattered about. You'll find it in street signs and lamps to historical buildings. These three are my favourites, but you're bound to find hidden gems if you take an early morning walk around town.
All the best cities commission pieces from local artists, to Napier it adds necessary character to bring the city into the 21st Century. Just like with the architecture, you'll spot these pieces randomly on the way to somewhere else.
Te Mata Peak
Just like the rest of New Zealand, Napier has no shortage of nature and panoramic views. Te Mata Peak has some gorgeous hiking trails and at Cape Kidnappers you'll find a gannet reserve.
Hunger Monger is my number one recommendation for eating out in Napier. I found myself conflicted my the need to eat as slowly as possible to make the pleasure last longer and the desire to scoff it all in five minutes. Some of the North Island's best seafood in found in the Hawkes Bay, the oysters and Paua are just that much juicier.
Have you been to Napier? What are your recommendations?