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BUG New Zealand travel guidebook

Destination guides > Pacific Islands > New Zealand > Hawkes Bay > Napier

Napier

Arriving in Napier can feel like walking onto a 1930s film set where any second bootlegging gangsters in town cars are going to come peeling around the corner, tommy guns blazing. The centre of town is a shrine to Art Deco architecture, with some of the best intact examples in the world.


When a 1931 earthquake devastated Napier, the city was rebuilt in the prevailing style of the day. Today, one of the biggest attractions of this cosmopolitan town of nearly 58,000 is the town itself, drawing architecture buffs to admire its Art Deco and Spanish Mission buildings. Every February, the city holds an Art Deco weekend to celebrate its unique heritage.


Many of Napier’s Art Deco buildings line Emerson Street; Marine Parade, with its shady Norfolk Island Pines, is home to some more recent tourist attractions. There’s a Kiwi House at the northern end of the street, which may be your best chance to see a real live kiwi. Further south along Marine Parade is the Hawkes Bay Museum, and then there’s the ever popular Marineland and the Hawkes Bay Aquarium.


Napier has a fairly refined dining and café scene for a small city. The city’s cosmopolitan air is reflected in its street names, many of which are British authors: Carlyle, Thackeray, Tennyson, Dickens and Shakespeare.

Practical information

Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre

100 Marine Parade, Napier
Tel (06) 834 1911
Website www.hawkesbaynz.com
Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-5pm, Sat-Sun 9am-5pm

INTERNET ACCESS
Cybers Internet Café

98 Dickens Street, Napier
Tel (06) 835 0125
Website www.cybers.co.nz
Open Mon-Fri 8.30am-midnight, Sat-Sun 9am-midnight

 

Esquires Coffee (Emerson Street, Napier) has free Wi-Fi access.

Coming & going

InterCity Coachlines (tel (09) 623 1503) go to Gisborne, Taupo and Wellington and Nakedbus.com has direct buses to Auckland, Waitomo, Wellington and Whangarei. BayXpress (tel 0800 422 997) is a good alternative if you’re going to Palmerston North or Wellington.


InterCity coaches depart from Marine Parade (between Marineland and the playground. BayXpress and Naked Bus depart from outside the i-SITE Visitor Centre (100 Marine Parade, Napier).

Local transport

The Hawkes Bay area has a good local bus service with most bus routes running every half hour. Most fares in Napier are $2.40 although it costs $4.30 to go to Hastings and and $5.70 to Havelock North.

Hostel accommodation

Aqua Lodge

53 Nelson Crescent, Napier
Tel (06) 835 4523

Archies Bunker

14 Hershell Street, Napier
Tel (06) 833 7990 or 0800 272 4437 (0800 ARCHIES)

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Bay Booziee Backpackers

47 Petane Road, Bayview
Tel (06) 836 6007

Criterion Art Deco Backpackers

48 Emerson Street, Napier
Tel (06) 835 2059

Napier Prison

55 Coote Road, Napier
Tel (06) 835 9933

Napier Waterfront Lodge & Backpackers

217 Marine Parade, Napier
Tel (06) 835 3429

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Portside Inn

52 Bridge Street, Ahuriri
Tel (06) 833 7292

Stables Lodge

370 Hastings Street, Napier
Tel (06) 835 6242

Toad Hall

11 Shakespeare Road, Napier
Tel (06) 835 5555

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Wally’s Backpackers

7 Cathedral Lane, Napier
Tel (06) 833 7930

YHA Napier

277 Marine Parade, Napier
Tel (06) 835 7039

No booking fee when you book this hostel online at bug.co.uk

Eating & drinking

Napier takes its food and drink culture seriously and there’s a vast selection of upscale places around town, as well as some lower-budget options. The main clusters are in the city centre, around Hastings and Emerson Streets, with a few places along Marine Parade. There are several fine restaurants and cafés quayside in the suburb of Ahuriri as well.


For drinks, Rosie O’Grady’s (corner Marine Parade & Tennyson Street, Napier) is a well-known Irish pub. The Cri (48 Emerson Street, Napier) is a popular backpacker-oriented spot, with cheap meals, drink specials and theme nights. It’s located below Criterion Art Deco Backpackers.


There are several supermarkets around Munroe Street; including Countdown (corner Munroe & Dickens Streets, Napier), Pak’n Save (5 Munoe Street, Napier) and Woolworths (36 Carlyle Street, Napier).

Sightseeing, museums & tourist attractions

Art deco walking tours

Napier’s architecture is the city’s main attraction. Just walking around town will give you a good idea of the Art Deco craze that swept through Napier in the 1930s. The Art Deco Trust conducts walking tours of the city that departs from the Art Deco Shop in Tennyson Street. Alternatively you can buy a self-guided walk booklet for $5 and do the walk yourself. The tour is 1½km long and takes up to two hours to complete.

Art Deco Shop, 163 Tennyson Street, Napier
Tel (06) 835 0022
Website www.artdeconapier.com
Tours cost $14-20
Tours depart 10am, 2pm, 5.30pm

Hawke’s Bay Museum & Art Gallery

This museum has a wide variety of exhibits including dinosaurs, Māori culture and local history. The exhibits relating to the 1931 earthquakes are particularly interesting.

9 Herschell Street, Napier
Tel (09) 835 7781
Website www.hbmag.co.nz
Admission $7.50
Open 10am-6pm daily

Marineland

New Zealand’s only marine zoo is home to marine animals that include little blue penguins, seals, sea lions and dolphins. It also features dolphin shows and you have the option of getting in the pool and swimming with the dolphins.

Marine Parade, Napier
Tel (06) 834 4027
Website www.marineland.co.nz
Admission $11-18; swim with dolphins $50
Open summer Mon 10am-4.30pm, Tue-Wed 10am-5.30pm, Thu 10am-4.30pm, Fri-Sun 10am-5.30pm; winter 10am-4.30pm daily

National Aquarium

New Zealand’s National Aquarium features a wide variety of marine life. It includes a walk-through tunnel in one of the tanks plus enclosures with kiwis, glow-worms, tuatara and New Zealand Geckos.

Marine Parade, Napier
Tel (06) 834 1404
Website www.nationalaquarium.co.nz
Admission $14.60
Open Jan 9am-9pm daily; Feb-Easter 9am-7pm daily; Easter-24 Dec 9am-5pm daily; 26-31 Dec 9am-9pm daily


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