10 Best Things To Do In Napier, NZ

things to do in napier nz
| 4 min read

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

Entrance of Napier historic prison
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pseudopanax used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

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

Visited this place?

2. National Aquarium of New Zealand

Viewing window napier aquarium
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user ZoofanNZ used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

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

Visited this place?

3. Bluff Hill Lookout

Posted by Jnr Sikeli on Friday, 5 May 2017

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

Visited this place?

4. Te Mata Peak

Lower Tukituki River from Te Mata  Peak, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 22 November 2005
Source: Photo by user Phillip Capper used under CC BY 2.0

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

Visited this place?

5. Sunken Gardens

Napier Botanic Gardens
Source: Photo by Flickr user itravelNZ® - New ... used under CC BY 2.0

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!

Sunken Gardens

Address: Marine Parade, Napier 4110, New Zealand

Website: Sunken Gardens

Visited this place?

6. Mission Estate Winery

Posted by Mission Estate Winery on Monday, 8 May 2017

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

Visited this place?

7. Marine Parade

Rotary Coastal Walkway, Marine Parade
Source: Photo by Flickr user itravelNZ® - New ... used under CC BY 2.0

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.

Marine Parade

Address: Napier 4110, New Zealand

Website: Marine Parade

Visited this place?

8. Shine Falls

Shine Falls
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pseudopanax used under PUBLIC DOMAIN

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.

Shine Falls

Address: 653 Heays Access Rd, Putorino 4181, New Zealand

Website: Shine Falls

Visited this place?

9. Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach, Hawke's Bay
Source: Photo by user itravelNZ® - New ... used under CC BY 2.0

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.

Ocean Beach

Address: Ocean Beach Road, New Zealand

Website: Ocean Beach

Visited this place?

10. MTG Hawke's Bay

Posted by MTG Hawke's Bay on Tuesday, 14 February 2017

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

Visited this place?

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!

Visited this place?
Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Kathy is an avid solo traveller from Vancouver, BC. She has enjoyed being a travel writer for the past 10 years. As a former flight attendant, she has had the opportunity to visit many amazing...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Napier
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top
Visited any of these places? Click this button to activate our "Add a Tip" feature to share your experience.