Napier is a city on the North Island of New Zealand. It is popular for its proximity to Hawkes Bay, beaches, and Art Deco architecture. You can enjoy a lot of fun things to do in Napier, New Zealand, and around it.
People come here to admire history, art, architecture, and culture. Owing to the abundance of classic Art Deco buildings, the city has earned the title “Art Deco Capital of the World”. Some of these buildings are the best places to visit in Napier, NZ as they house museums, shopping venues, art galleries, and so on.
Furthermore, the city sits on the eastern coast, where you will find some of the most wonderful things to see in Napier. This gives it a luxurious European coastal town vibe, hence you will be touring the “Nice of the Pacific” when you visit Napier. You will find gorgeous beaches alongside coastline shopping, leisure, and entertainment venues.
People also travel to Napier for exquisite wines. The city is surrounded by the Hawke Bay wine region. You can try out a variety of wines at many of the Napier attractions. You can also head to the countryside to tour the vineyards. These are actually the best places to go near Napier to enjoy the wines and that too with a great view. It is a relaxing and memorable experience.
At the same time, there are also a lot of outdoor activities to do in Napier. You can enjoy absolutely gorgeous nature trails through forests and along the coastline. You can explore forests, mountains, beaches, coastal cliffs, waterfalls, and more.
But, there are other ways to explore the wilderness. Some of the best things to do around Napier include kayaking, hiking, paddle boarding, boat cruises, cycling, river rafting, and more. Some of these activities sit close to some historic and cultural places to see in Napier.
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Top 30 Tourist Places to Visit in Napier, New Zealand
1. Piana of the Reef
This statue depicts Pania, a Folklore figure from the Maori culture. Pania returned to the sea after a heartbreak. It is believed that she lives close to the reef and would appear to seafarers during low tides.
A girl, named Mei Robin, was picked from the Hukarere Maori Girls’ College to be the face of the statue. The statue is one of the most photographed things to see in Napier, New Zealand. Take 15 minutes to admire the artwork and appreciate the lore behind it.
2. Centennial Gardens
These gardens were built to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Napier as a city. Interestingly, the site used to be a wasteland quarry that was turned into a garden by prison inmates.
Now it is one of the best places to visit in Napier, New Zealand. These gardens are especially known for the waterfall and the limestone cliff view.
The waterfall is lit up at night creating a graceful sight. There is a viewing platform to admire this sight and click pictures. It is among the best things to do in Napier at night. You will need 30 to 45 minutes to explore these gardens.
3. Napier Aquatic Centre
This aquatic centre is a blend of wellness spa, sports centre, and water park. It has heated waterslides, lap pools, a spray park, heated therapy pools, and other fun things to do in Napier for families.
Locals also come here for outdoor picnics and BBQs. You can easily spend an hour or so enjoying the activities at this Aquatic Centre.
4. Napier Municipal Theatre
This theatre has been an important part of Napier’s history and culture. It still hosts a variety of national and international artists. It is also one of the interesting Napier attractions to visit for its architecture.
The theatre features a simple, yet elegant variation of the Art Deco style. Although, the best way to explore the theatre is to catch a show here. Take an evening from Napier sightseeing to enjoy an evening of entertainment here.
This winery is considered the pioneer of the wineries of New Zealand. It was established by French Marist missionaries, some 160 years ago. You can take a variety of tours that include wine tasting and the history of the Estate.
One of the tours also includes a cruise excursion of several Napier tourist attractions related to the history of estate wine-making in the city. You will need at least an hour for any of these tours.
I suggest you should go for a Half Day Tour to Mission Estate Winery.
6. Shine Falls
If you are looking for outdoor activities to do in Napier, you can follow the trail leading to this majestic waterfall in the Boundary Stream Reserve. Falling from 58 meters, this is the tallest one in the region.
It is only a short trail through the forest that is equally beautiful. You may even spot a Kiwi bird and other small animals along the way. You will need about 2 to 3 hours from Napier travel for this trail.
7. Moana Park Winery
This state-owned winery produces some of the most popular wines originating from the region. It also produces vegetarian and vegan wines. The winery is among the best places to visit near Napier to go for wine tasting. You will need at least an hour for the tour and wine-tasting session.
First built during the 1800s, this prison building is one of the most popular Napier tourist spots for several reasons. First, it is a major historical site. The building has played the role of a prison, psychiatric facility, and an orphanage. Second, it holds a variety of stories within its walls. And Third, some of those stories are horror.
Yup, the prison building is considered a haunted building. It even hosts night tours and escape room experiences for those looking for thrilling activities in Napier, NZ. You will need an hour and a half to tour the building and engage in the activities.
I suggest you should go for a Self-Guided Audio Tour to Napier Prison.
9. Waipatiki Beach Holiday Park
This golden sand beach has an incredible view of the ocean with green mountains on each side of it. The beach also faces wonderful waves which are great for surfing. People also come here for stroll boating, picnics, and bird watching.
This Napier beach also takes you to some coastal hiking trails alongside the hills and cliffs. It is one of the best things to do around Napier if you want to see picturesque natural landscapes. You can easily spend a couple of hours exploring this beach and its surroundings.
10. Te Mata Peak
This mountain peak stands 400 meters above sea level and is home to a variety of landscapes including forests, grasslands, waterfalls, gorges, streams, rocky terrains, and more.
The more you scale this mountain the better views you get. It is among the most beautiful places to visit near Napier, NZ.
Some of the biggest attractions on the mountain include Te Mata Peak, Redwoods Forest, Cultural Tours, Mountain Biking Trails, and Hiking Trails. You need at least half a day or more to explore these mountains when you visit Napier.
I suggest you must try a Scenic Tour of Te Mata Peak on a Stylish Superbike.
11. Cape Kidnappers
This beautiful cape is known equally for its scenic views and its story. It was named after the kidnapping of Captain Cook’s cabin boy by Maori tribesmen.
While the major part of the cape comprises a cliff, it is also home to some really nice beaches near Napier. It is also a nesting spot for Gannet birds that flock here in thousands. You need 2 to 3 hours to explore this Cape and its various attractions.
I suggest you should book your Tour to Cape Kidnappers in advance.
Art Deco is a style of architecture that originated in France and Napier was once filled with buildings designed in this style. It was the Art Deco Capital. But, then an earthquake dealt heavy damage to the city in 1931 devastating many of these monuments.
Some of the buildings survived a few others were restored. These have become popular tourist places in Napier, a reminder of the flamboyant 1900s culture of the city. You can take a 2 or 3-hour-long Art Deco tour of Napier to see these landmarks and learn about their history.
I suggest you should go for a Guided Walking Tour of Napier Art Deco.
13. Marine Parade
This seafront stretches alongside the Pacific Ocean and is one of the top sightseeing routes in the city. These include National Aquarium, Sunken Gardens, MTG Museum, and more. You can also just walk alongside the ocean enjoying the view and the breeze. Take a few minutes to enjoy this path in the evening after Napier sightseeing.
14. Otatara Pā
This is one of the most famous Maori historical sites in New Zealand. It is one of the most interesting places to see in Napier. It has remains of an abandoned village. You will get to learn about the lifestyle and culture of the ancient Maori tribes. It takes about 2 hours to explore the site.
15. The National Aquarium of New Zealand
This aquarium is home to the largest collection of aquatic life in the country. It is one of the best places to go in Napier. You will get to see a variety of ocean dwellers such as sharks, penguins, puffer fish, dolphins, rays, coral reefs, and much more.
The Aquarium is also known for some of the best things to do in Napier for families with children. You can get up close to some of the animals and swim alongside them. People can easily spend a couple of hours exploring the aquarium.
This lookout point is one of the most important historical landmarks of the city. You will get an amazing view of the Hawkes Bay and Napier Port. It is the second-largest port in the world by volume.
It is one of the most mesmerizing things to see in Napier. You will see ships scale the ocean to dock at the port and unload. Take 30 to 45 minutes to enjoy this view during Napier sightseeing.
If you want to enjoy Bluff Hills Lookout then I suggest you should go for a Full Day Tour to Hawkes Bay.
17. MTG Hawkes Bay
This museum is considered the cultural hotspot of the city. It exhibits more than 90,000 pieces of artworks by several renowned artists. The museum is spread over three buildings, one of which is renowned for its Art Deco architecture.
The museum is also one of the top Napier tourist attractions to enjoy performance arts and films. You will need an hour or so to tour this museum.
18. Hawkes Bay Farmyard Zoo
The zoo houses horses, ostriches, lamas, goats, cows, turkeys, sheep, pigs, peacocks, rabbits, and more. It is one of the best places to visit in Napier for families. You can feed, pet, and even play with the animals. People can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the farm.
Hawkes Bay is full of natural sceneries, landscapes, and interesting experiences. One of the top things to do around Napier is embark on a bike tour to explore the bay.
You can explore the coastal road exploring beaches, cliffs, and other sites. Along the route are some amazing towns with interesting experiences. You will need at least a day for any of the trails.
I suggest you should go for a Self-Guided Bike Tour of Hawkes Bay Wineries.
Napier and its surroundings are home to some of the oldest wineries in the country. Wine tasting is one of the best parts of Napier sightseeing and there are several ways to experience wine tasting.
You can tour the wineries around Napier. Here you can sample various wines, tour the estates, explore the vineyards, and more. The tastings are also often accompanied by incredible traditional cuisine.
There are also several places to go in Napier City where you can enjoy wine tasting. Any of these experiences will require at least an hour’s time.
I suggest you should go for a Napier Gin and Wine Tasting Tour.
21. Hastings Town
Hastings is a beautiful little town near Napier. While it has a similar Art Deco vibe as the city, it is surrounded by wonderful farmlands, vineyards, and orchards.
The town also holds a farmer’s market each Sunday where locals sell fresh produce, food products, and handicraft items. It is one of the best things to do near Napier as it adds a new flavour to the trip.
The town also has a few other attractions. So you can easily spend 3 to 4 hours exploring it during Napier travel.
22. St. John’s Anglican Cathedral (Waiapu Cathedral)
Also known as the Waiapu Cathedral, this church blends the classic Art Deco styling of the city with modern elements. However, it is the interiors of this church that attract the most attention.
Its stained glass ambulatory windows have beautiful depictions of the life events of Jesus Christ. The church is also home to the Stations of the Cross painted by Phyllis Simmonds and 48 wooden plaques featuring various Christian symbols.
It is one of the most important cultural tourist attractions in Napier and you will need 30 to 45 minutes to explore it.
23. Napier Urban Farmers’ Market
This market is one of the best Napier attractions to shop for locally produced items. While the farmer’s market is held in the city, you will find all kinds of things brought from nearby towns.
The market sells fresh produce, bakery items, street food, handicrafts, organic food products, meats, beverages, wines, and more. Take 20 to 30 minutes from Napier sightseeing on Saturday to tour this market.
24. Faraday Museum of Technology
This museum celebrates the technology of the past and makes it interactive. You can see sparks of a Tesla Coil or experience a London Phone Booth or Take a Trip in a 1907 Car and more.
The museum has a lot of fun things to do in Napier for families with children. You can enjoy experiments, activities, and arcade games. You will need at least an hour to thoroughly explore this museum.
25. River Rafting
You can enjoy the thrill of Class II to Class V rapids while river rafting through Hawkes Bay. The experience is only 30 minutes away from the city and is one of the best adventure activities to do in Napier.
Moreover, this thrilling adventure is also a nature and historic sightseeing tour. You will pass through amazing landscapes and even abandoned gold mines. You will need about 3 to 4 hours for this incredible experience.
I suggest you should book your River Rafting Tour in advance.
26. Maraetotara Historic Walk & Waterfalls
This nature reserve is among the best places to visit near Napier for nature lovers. Simultaneously, it is also a historic sightseeing tour. The trail goes through the forest and leads to the Maraetotara Waterfall.
The elegant waterfall system forms a huge lake where you can enjoy a nice refreshing swim. During the trail, you will also come across a couple of historic sites including the old Havelock North Power Station. You will need about 2 to 3 hours explore to tour this beautiful reserve.
27. Splash Planet
This waterpark has all the elements of a fun and entertaining day out. It is one of the most popular Napier tourist spots to blow off some steam. The park has themed zones, slides, pools, wave pools, train rides, thrill rides, kayaks, and more. You can spend a couple of hours at this park enjoying fun activities in Napier, NZ.
28. Perfume Point
This viewpoint sits at the edge of Spriggs Park and is known for the small colorful tower that overlooks the ocean as well as the black sand that sits on its shore. It is not as popular as other tourist places in Napier, but if you want some quiet time just listening to the ocean, you can come here for a few minutes.
29. National Tobacco Company Building
This 1900s Art Deco building used to be the office of a Tobacco company. It is yet another one of the places to see in Napier that stands testament to the architecture and preservation of the city. You will need 20 to 30 minutes to explore this beautiful old building.
30. Ocean Spa Pools
This ocean-side resort has a lot of facilities but is best known for its heated spa pools. You can chill in warm water and get a pampered spa treatment with an ocean view. It is one of the best things to do in Napier after a day of exhaustive sightseeing. Take an hour or so for this treatment.
If you are looking for more places to visit in Napier, check out the sections below. These are a complete list of all the things you can do in the city and around it.
Things to do in Napier, New Zealand
Monuments, Museums & Historical Places to Visit in Napier, New Zealand
- MTG Hawke’s Bay
- Church Road Winery
- Napier Prison
- Faraday Museum of Technology
- Waitangi Regional Park
- Atea A Rangi
- Hawke Bay Planetarium
- Gypsy Rose Tea Museum
- Vintage Car Club
- Waiapu Cathedral
- Napier Municipal Theatre
- Otarara Pa
- St. John’s Anglican Cathedral
Nature & Wildlife Tourist Spots in Napier, New Zealand
- Ahuriri Estuary
- Shine Falls
- Te Mata Peak
- Cape Kidnappers
- Maraetotara Reserve
Entertainment & Leisure Tourist Spots in Napier, New Zealand
- The National Aquarium of New Zealand
- Hawke Bay Trail
- Ocean Spa
- Mission Estate Winery
- Brooksfields Vineyards
- Sunken Gardens
- Bay Skate
- Anderson Park
- Shed Five Thirty Estate
- Centennial Garden
- Taradale Park
- Pandora Pond
- Napier Botanical Gardens
- Dolbel Reserve
- Aquatic Centre
- Mission Estate Winery
- Moana Park Winery
- Hawke’s Bay Farmyard Zoo
- Splash Plant
Shopping in Napier, New Zealand
- Napier Urban Farmer’s Market
- Emerson Street
- Central Business District
- Ahuriri Market
Beaches & Island in Napier, New Zealand
- Westshore Beach
- Waipatiki Beach
- Napier Beach
Offbeat Places, Tours, & Adventures in Napier, New Zealand
- River Rafting
Sightseeing in Napier, New Zealand
- Art Deco Tour
- Napier Port
- Buff Hill Lookout Point
- Tom Parker Fountain
- National Tobacco Company Building
- Perfume Point
- Spirit of Napier Sculpture
- Pania of the Reef Statue
- Marine Parade
Food, Dining, Restaurants, & Street Food in Napier, New Zealand
- Emporium Eatery
- F.G. Smith
- Hunger Monger
- Hapi Organic Cafe
- Monica Loves
- Milk & Honey
- Mister D
- Crazy Good
- Matisse Wine Shop & Bar
- SAI Thai Eatery
- Thirsty Whale
- The Gintrap
- Albion Canteen
- Silky Oak
- Kilim Cafe Napier
- National Cafe
Where to Stay in Napier?
Here we have listed Top Rated Hotels in Napier. You can check the below-listed hotels for your perfect stay in Napier.
- Pebble Beach Motor Inn
- Navigate Seaside Hotel
- The Dome
- East Pier Hotel
- Art Deco Masonic Hotel
- Scenic Hotel Te Pania
- Quest Napier
- The Crown Hotel Napier
- The Nautilus
- Edgewater Motor Lodge
- Harbour View Lodge
- Motel de la Mer
- Fairley Motor Lodge
- Kennedy Park Resort Napier
Custom Tours Package in Napier
How to Reach Napier, New Zealand?
The Hawke Bay Airport is the closest one to visit Napier. This receives direct flights from Gisborne, Christchurch, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, and Wairoa. You can get rental cars or buses to get to Napier from the airport.
The closest train station to Napier is Taumarunui & Palmerston North. You can get buses from almost every major city and town on the North Island to reach Napier.
If you are planning to visit Napier by road, you should head for the east coast routes 2, 50, and 51.
Napier docks several cruise ships touring the Pacific or New Zealand. Many of these ships also involve Napier sightseeing as part of their itinerary.