A unique and beautiful coastal city, Napier, New Zealand is a naturally beautiful place to visit, and lays on the Eastern Coast of the North Island, offering stunning views that will leave you breathless. However, if culture is your interest, then Napier is also known as being an artsy, art deco destination with no shortage of things to do!
Read on to find out about the 10 best things to do in Napier:
1. Napier's Historic Prison
Built in 1862, Napier’s Historic Prison is the oldest prison in New Zealand. It closed in 1993 and was purchased for multi-venue use. Tours can be guided or self-guided depending on your preference. Night tours are also available, and spooky group dinners can be arranged!
This is quite an eerie place to visit, and there are also some theatrics added to the mix - in fact it’s like visiting a haunted house. The staff is quite informative and you will learn a lot about the prison and those that stayed there.
If you’re up for a thrill, book the Escape Napier Prison experience. Brought to you by the original escape room provider in Hawke’s Bay, this is sure to be an exciting experience.
Napier's Historic Prison
Address: 55 Coote Rd, Bluff Hill, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: Napier Prison
2. National Aquarium of New Zealand
Yes, the National Aquarium of New Zealand has penguins! And on top of getting a very close and personal look with one of the cutest little mammals on earth, you can also take a swim with one of the most frightening creatures on earth! The aquarium offers you the opportunity to swim with the sharks! This activity can be for anyone that actually would like to try it, and the age of consent is 16 without an adult guardian’s permission. A very unique aquarium offering interactive displays and a close look at different sea-life and mammals, and yes…including those adorable seahorses!
National Aquarium of New Zealand
Address: 546 Marine Parade, Napier South, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: National Aquarium of New Zealand
3. Bluff Hill Lookout
A lovely hike up to Bluff Hill Lookout offers a view over Napier port. This is a historical site in which you can hike up to the barracks of World War II, occupied by 77 Battery 10 Coast Regiment NZA. An important landmark for New Zealand, and definitely something you would want to see. Not to mention the great view of course!
Bluff Hill Lookout
Address: 50 Lighthouse Rd, Bluff Hill, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: Bluff Hill Lookout
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4. Te Mata Peak
Stunning! This location is exactly what New Zealand is all about. Anyone visiting even remotely close to Napier would really not want to miss out. Several hiking trails are offered with incredible views of the New Zealand countryside. I cannot say enough about this destination!
Te Mata Peak
Address: Te Mata Peak Road, Hastings 4130, New Zealand
Website: Te Mata Peak
5. Sunken Gardens
The colors and landscape are quite capturing at Sunken Gardens in Napier. Each corner of this venue has been planned with visitors in mind and are very a popular destination. Originated in 1960, this is a relaxing retreat to spend the day, maybe have a picnic, and take in the beauty from all around. Be sure to watch for this park as it does not have any signs posted, however if you’re looking for it, you won’t miss it!
Address: Marine Parade, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: Sunken Gardens
6. Mission Estate Winery
Established in 1851, this is the oldest and largest winery in New Zealand. The first recorded sale for dry red wine was dated back to 1870. The incredible manor known as La Grande Maison or the “big house” was constructed in 1880. The mission at Mission Estate Winery is for their guests to feel at home; to relax and take in the beauty of the grounds, located near the Ngaruroro River. A beautiful winery, great hosts, and definitely a wonderful place to be added to your itinerary.
Mission Estate Winery
Address: 198 Church Rd, Poraiti, Napier 4112, New Zealand
Website: Mission Estate Winery
7. Marine Parade
A wonderful seawall trail that offers picturesque views of the incredible black sand beach, and waves rolling into the shore. You will find plenty of quaint shops, and a children’s playground and skate park here. A nice place to unwind and feel the true New Zealand atmosphere walking along the shore. Of course, the heart of Marine Parade is the Tom Parker Fountain, with the very first initiation of the fountain on December 23, 1936. This art deco marvel is also a display of beautiful color at night. The fountain brought joy to the locals following the Great Depression era, as well as the large earthquake of 1931, and is still a joy to watch and be mesmerized by.
Address: Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: Marine Parade
8. Shine Falls
A stunning waterfall located at Hawke’s Bay is 190 feet (58 meters) high and very picturesque. The hike to Shine Falls is a good workout, but fairly easy and well worth the trek. You will find beautiful rock formations and stunning scenery along the way. Shine Falls is an excellent way to spend a day exploring the natural beauty of Napier, New Zealand.
Address: 653 Heays Access Rd, Putorino 4181, New Zealand
Website: Shine Falls
9. Ocean Beach
This is a popular beach for surfing with the perfect waves. Ocean Beach however is not overly crowded, as it is somewhat untouched by shops and restaurants. The beach offers a serene area perfect if you love the idea of spending the day gazing out at the Pacific while relaxing on Ocean Beach’s soft sand. While in New Zealand, you will definitely want to check out the beaches, because they are definitely worth seeing.
Address: Ocean Beach Road, New Zealand
Website: Ocean Beach
10. MTG Hawke's Bay
A museum, theatre and gallery, MTG Hawke’s Bay is a very stylish building housing fantastic art displays, and is the pride of Napier. MTG has a main focus on the locals arts of New Zealand, with a permanent exhibit of the big 1931 earthquake of Napier. MTG consists of three buildings, and plenty to see over the space of a day. You will also find multi-media interactive displays in these stylish art deco buildings. A must-see while visiting the heart of Napier, New Zealand.
MTG Hawke's Bay
Address: 1 Tennyson St, Napier 4110, New Zealand
Website: MTG Hawke's Bay
Natural Beauty in Napier, New Zealand
Who wouldn’t want to visit New Zealand? The hidden jewel of Napier is a destination that has something for everyone. Arts, culture, scenic hikes and breathtaking beaches, Napier, New Zealand should be at the top of every discerning travelers destination list!
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