Located on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island, 320km from the capital of Wellington, Napier is the centre of the Hawke’s Bay region and is renowned for its temperate climate and stunning natural scenery. It is a popular tourist city, with a unique concentration of 1930s Art Deco architecture, built after much of the city was levelled and razed in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. For a while, it was the newest city in the world!
It is home to an eclectic mix of galleries, museums and theatres where enthusiasts can satisfy their thirst for arts, culture and heritage.
The Hawke’s Bay Museum and Art Gallery (MTG) features superb classical and contemporary exhibitions of art, craft and social history, including interactive exhibitions of the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake, which levelled and/or razed much of the city, and the subsequent Art Deco architectural and cultural revival. The School Holiday activities that they run during the year are sure to be a hit with kids as they learn new talents.
Uniquely located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and within easy walking distance of the city, the National Aquarium’s design is based on the shape of a stingray. Wander around the different continents of the world and view sea creatures, reptiles, exotic fish and native birds. View the 1,500 fish as they swim and feed above you while you walk through the 50-metre-long tunnel. Interact with the touch pool and see lizards, spiders and wetas or take a ‘behind the scenes’ tour for close encounters with the animals. The kids will love that!
Cape Kidnappers is the largest and most accessible mainland gannet colony in the world. Visitors to the colony can expect to see over 20,000 of these amazing birds nesting, preening, flying and performing the famous recognition ritual “dance of the gannets”. An option for enjoying a trip to the Gannets across some of Hawke’s Bay’s most awe-inspiring landscapes viewing spectacular scenery is to travel with Gannet Beach Adventures along the beach on a unique tractor and trailer ride.
Learn all about the rock geology as you ride through the waves – just remember to keep your feet up!
Ocean Spa Hot Pool and Spa complex is right on Napier’s marine parade, just a couple of minutes’ stroll from the town centre. Ideal for play and relaxation for the whole family, year-round facilities include open air hot pools, 25m lap pool, two leisure pools, toddlers’ pool, outdoor plus private indoor spas, steam room, sauna, massage and beauty and gym. The complex is right next to the beach.
Napier’s Prison operated from 1853 until 1993, with the old building being NZ’s oldest prison - take a tour and you’ll be entertained with tales of victims, villains and heroes, escapees and ghosts! Walk along the undulating corridors with twisted walls from the 1931 earthquake. Visit the old hanging yard and get locked up in solitary confinement!
Napier is alive and happening with plenty of things to do and see with families, you will never get bored!