Napier is a small coastal city with a population of approximately 58,800. Bordering Napier are the Esk and Tutaekuri Rivers to the north and south; the western hills to the west; and Hawke’s Bay to the east. The city comprises of both hill areas and large areas of flat land with reserves and beaches providing everyone easy access to both green space and water. Blessed with a sunny, Mediterranean-style climate, Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions. It has a climate of long hot summers and mild winters. One of the main things people visit Hawke’s Bay for is the weather! It is also why the region is so well known for producing great wine and food. The entire crew can enjoy the area, as it provides a number of fun things to see and do, such as Museums, day trips, activities and natural landscapes. Key features of Napier include: • Its unique art deco heritage and infrastructure. • Other important heritage locations in the city (e.g. Marine Parade, Ahuriri and Meeanee areas). • MTG (Museum, Theatre, Gallery) Hawke’s Bay, including an extensive Maori/Ngati Kahungunutaonga collection. • Faraday Centre and Holt Planetarium facilities. • Municipal Theatre – the base for a wide range of performing arts in the city. • Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) Hawke’s Bay, in particular its art and design, Maori studies and tourism/hospitality sections. • City galleries and theatres. • Wineries, restaurants and cafés. • City arts trail and the ‘Creative Napier’ community arts organisation. • Public libraries (over half of the city’s population are library members). • The community/social infrastructure of service clubs and arts/craft organisations. • Public reserve and recreational areas, including the Botanical Gardens and the pathways network.
Napier is unique with its well kept 1930s architecture. Nowhere else can you see such a variety of buildings in the styles of the 1930s Napier is one of New Zealand’s most attractive cities. On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – rocked Hawke’s Bay for over 3 minutes. Nearly 260 people died and most buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were abolished, either by the quake itself or the fires that were caused from it. The city was rebuilt in the style of that era and by the end of the decade Napier was the newest city on the globe. The streets of Napier are beautiful, with palm trees running all the way through, and the Marine Parade runs along the shore. Along Marine Parade various parks, gardens and memorials give the water’s edge its distinct character. The i-SITE Visitor Centre is close by, so help is always around if needed. Walking tours run every day rain or shine (except Christmas Day) and no bookings are necessary – anyone can join in at anytime! This is a very popular part of this area for many people. Walks leave from the Napier i-SITE on Marine Parade every morning at 10am and afternoon tours leave from the Art Deco shop in Tennyson Street at 2pm. Hastings, the warm heart of Hawke’s Bay, is one of the sunniest areas of New Zealand. It is sheltered by ranges to the west, which open up to reveal fertile rolling plains stretching all the way to immaculate beaches along the seaside. The picture-perfect setting for orchards and of course, internationally acclaimed wineries. Nearby, Havelock North, (Known locally as ‘The Village’), has kept its ‘village’ character and solid sense of community while developing to become part of the wider district of Hastings and province of Hawke’s Bay. Havelock North is the closest settlement to Cape Kidnappers. At Cape Kidnappers you can find the greatest mainland gannet colony on Earth. Explore it by 4WD adventure tour, by tractor ride along the beach (see opposite) or, for the more daring, track the tides and do it yourself. It is also home to one of Earth’s best golf courses. Visitors can get within a few feet of gannet colony which is at the top of the Cape’s sheer and barren cliffs.
Hawke’s Bay Checklist
Don’t leave Hawke’s Bay without…
• Visiting the National Aquarium of New Zealand.
• Spending the day at Splash Planet, New Zealand’s only water themed fun park!
• Fitting some education into your holiday joining in an Art Deco Walking Tour of Napier. The knowledgeable guides will tell you all about the distressing earthquake in 1931 and the re-establishment that turned Napier into an Art Deco mecca. MTG – Hawke’s Bay’s Museum, Theatre, Gallery re-opened it’s doors in September 2013 after a three year, multi million dollar re-build. Now a state of the art gallery and exhibition space, MTG is home to fascinating displays of art and sculpture as well as a permanent 1931 earthquake exhibition.
• Taking them for a game of mini golf at Par 2 Mini Golf in Napier
• Visiting the fascinating Arataki Honey Visitor Centre and learn all about the amazing honey bee. Free and fun!
• Throwing the bikes in the car and cycle the Hawke’s Bay Trails. Nice level and cruisy off road trails suitable for all. Check out Takaro Trails for organised cycling day tours or bike hirage.
• Enjoy the great outdoors and explore PekaPeka Wetlands or one of the other wonderful parks, gardens and recreational sites in Hawke’s Bay
• Walking and talking to the animals at Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo. Ponies, Rabbits, Donkeys, Pigs, Sheep and Ostriches are just some of the animals waiting to see you.
• Stopping in at Birdwoods Gallery and Old Fashioned Sweet Shop in Havelock North. They also have photo boards, ice creams and a super tree swing in their sculpture garden (beware of giraffes!)
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