On New Zealand’s North Island, the lovely coastal town of Napier is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and Art Deco buildings. The area has retained all of its attractiveness despite withstanding a significant earthquake. Napier, surrounded by lush vineyards, is a well-known Hawke’s Bay wine-producing area. In addition, it is one of the famous locations in New Zealand where Maori culture is still alive. View all the must-see best places in Napier that you can include in your itinerary.
National Aquarium of New Zealand
If you love marine life, you should definitely check out National Aquarium of New Zealand.
The most varied collection of marine life in New Zealand may be found at the National Aquarium. Visitors can see the various shark species, stingrays, and reef fish that reside in the waters off Hawke’s Bay as well as a large number of tropical fish, turtles, and octopi that are found throughout the Pacific in the National Aquarium of NZ’s enormous walk-through aquarium, the Oceanarium.
The nocturnal and flightless kiwi, the tuatara reptile, and the small blue penguin can all be seen in three animal enclosures along with other well-known New Zealand endemics.
The serene Marine Parade Gardens and the Sunken Gardens are located on Napier’s seafront promenade, Marine Parade, which is bordered by tall Norfolk Pine trees. Along this area, there are many monuments and art pieces to see, the most well-known of which is the bronze Pania of the Reef statue.
The Tom Parker fountain, the Marine Parade Arch, and the Spirit of Napier monument, which has the ship’s bell from HMS Veronica, the first aid ship following the 1931 earthquake, are further landmarks worth visiting. It’s a terrific place to seek accommodations that meet your needs and to grab a quick bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants.
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Otatara Pa – Top Attraction At Napier
One of the most significant archaeological sites in New Zealand is located on this 40-hectare pa. The leader of the region, Turauwha, lived at Otatara Pa, the largest such site in Hawke’s Bay area. Many of the terraced housing site and food pit foundations can still be seen at the pa today because of careful excavation and preservation. The pa is now a historical reserve.
Climbing the hill the pa is on for the fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, looking down to Napier and out to Cape Kidnappers is one of the best things to do in Napier. The views extend to Mount Ruapehu in the distance on clear days. It is one of the best places to visit in Napier New Zealand.
If you are a nature lover, Cape Kidnappers is definitely a best place for you.
Cape Kidnappers is a promontory that protrudes into the sea about 23 kilometers south of Napier. It is a strikingly picturesque location with harsh, wind-swept cliffs rising from short stretches of beach. The local Maori here, trading with Cook’s ship, Endeavour, kidnapped his Tahitian cabin boy in 1769, earning Cape Kidnappers its name.
The largest gannet colony in the world is now said to be located on this rugged peninsula, where the birds may be observed nesting in great numbers. Tractor tours of the beach can be easily organized, or independent visitors can stroll the eight-kilometer length of the beach from the village of Clifton. Bring your camera since you’ll get some incredible pictures to record on film. For those who enjoy the outdoors and bird watching, this location is wonderful.
MTG Hawke’s Bay
MTG Hawke’s Bay is a museum, art gallery, and theater that acts as a showcase for the Hawke’s Bay region. It is one of the best things to do for free in Napier. For history buffs interested in learning more about the infamous Napier earthquake of 1931, it’s also a must-do activity.
A gallery about the earthquake is part of the permanent collection and explains its disastrous effects on the region as well as the enormous rebuilding effort that followed.
Other exhibits include a well-curated Maori gallery featuring jewelry, carvings, and clothes, as well as an art gallery with a focus on 20th-century artists from New Zealand. A noteworthy natural history collection is also included, including bones and fragments from the extinct moa (a large bird native to New Zealand).
Get to Bluff Hill if you want to take in the expansive views of the coastal town. It is one of Napier’s most incredible tourist destinations. From the Napier City Centre, it is only a 30-minute walk to a location with breathtaking views of Hawke’s Bay.
The overlook offers breathtaking views that, on a clear day, reach as far as Cape Kidnappers in the southeast and the Mahia Peninsula in the northeast. The battery that previously stood here is remembered on a plaque near the overlook.
Te Mata Peak – Best Place In Napier
This is one of the best places to visit in Napier for adventure lovers. Te Mata Peak, which is located next to the town of Havelock North and rises 339 meters above the surrounding landscape, provides expansive views of the entire Hawke’s Bay. The legend of Chief Te Mata O Rongokako, who attempted to eat his way through these cliffs in order to win the hand of his girlfriend, is set here on Te Mata Peak, a prominent location in Maori culture. The park’s 99 hectares of native woodland, together with portions of gum, eucalyptus, and redwood trees, are covered with vegetation.
The region is traversed by a huge network of hiking and mountain bike paths that go to the peak. With so many beautiful overlooks nearby, the area is a perfect destination for an afternoon stroll. Road access is also available for those who don’t feel like walking, and the genuinely daring might wish to consider a hang-gliding adventure.
Napier Botanical Gardens is a lovely place to spend a few peaceful hours. It was built simultaneously with the town in the late 1800s. The location has a duck pond, a budgerigar aviary, a group of trees that are over 100 years old, a waterfall feature, and a beautiful terra-cotta fountain.
The old Military Track, a beautiful road for a stroll that traverses the original cemetery and several former Maori settlements, is another point of interest. There are several vantage spots with views of the grounds as well.
You may think of prison as an odd place, but this one in Napier is not only odd but also enjoyable. The oldest prison in New Zealand is Napier Prison, which opened its doors in 1862 and finally closed in 1993. The prison facilities, which were once home to many of New Zealand’s most notorious criminals, are open to tourists who want to learn about the facility’s history and can see the cells, quarries, hanging yards, and cemetery. They also have a good number of ghost stories.
Specialized ghost walks are held in the evenings since, for many tourists, the stories of hauntings and weird happenings are what they find fascinating. Self-guided audio tours are available at the entrance for those who want to explore during the day. The attraction has also gained an exciting escape room experience.
Hastings – Best Place In Napier You Should Go
The small town of Hastings, which is surrounded by a landscape of orchards and farms, is a charming, laid-back location with a very rural vibe. The town, which is primarily significant in New Zealand as a significant farming region, has benefited from this by turning into a foodie hotspot, and the weekly Hastings Farmers Market on Sunday draws sizable crowds from all over the region for its fresh produce and abundance of specialty food stalls.
Additionally, it has some well-known attractions you can visit in your free time, as well as Art Deco architecture. It’s undoubtedly one of the top locations in Napier to visit with friends and family.