About Napier

Napier city is located in the Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand. Napier is about 2 1/2 hours drive north of Palmerston North, or around 6 hours driving time south from Auckland.

Napier Accommodation | Napier Attractions | Napier Map

Napier History

Captain cook was the first European to sail into the area in 1769. However it was not until the 1850's when the earliest residents settled here. The city was named after Sir Charles Napier, a British military leader.

In 1931 Napier city was decimated by a major earthquake. Most of the town's buildings were destroyed, or burned down. Art Deco architecture was popular at that time, so most of the city's major buildings are in the Art Deco Style.

It is quite rare to see a town's buildings all in the same style. And even more so, to have a city centre in the Art Deco style, because the great depression of the 1930's meant worldwide, construction was very low.

For this, Napier is affectionately known as the Art Deco capital of the Southern hemisphere. Miami Beach in Florida, USA is the only other example of a city in the Art Deco Style.

While some newer style buildings were erected in the 70's and 80's, the central area is heritage-protected, and new construction must keep with the style. The distinctive look of the city is a major drawcard for tourism, and Napier is host to an annual Art Deco Weekend celebrating its history, and the Art Deco period.

Napier boasts some of the highest sunshine hours in New Zealand, and the surrounding Hawkes Bay region is a top-producing area for wineries and orchards. Napier itself is a seaside town, with the the CBD only a few metres above sea level.

Napier Activities, Attractions and Things to Do

The Hawkes Bay district has dozens of vineyards so a 30 minute drive will allow a great selection of places to explore. Most wineries have tasting rooms and cafes for an enjoyable afternoon. A lot of the region is flat, so there are vines stretching for miles in either direction once you drive past neighbouring Hastings.

National Aquarium of New Zealand - Refurbishments now completed!

The big drawcard of the Napier area is the architecture and style of the city. Set aside a few hours to wander around the central area and absorb some of the unique sights. A blast from the past, it can really transport you to a different era, and how things looked in the 1930's.

The Napier Earthquake left a trail of destruction in 1931, but now leaves a lot of well-documented history and this can be discovered at the Hawkes Bay Museum and Art Gallery on Marine Parade. (Edit: Museum complex is currently closed for renovations until 2013). Marine Parade boasts several fun activities such as the Ocean Spa Pools and the National Aquarium of New Zealand. Please see our section on Napier's Things To Do

Napier Accommodation

When it comes to Napier Accommodation there are so many options. From backpackers and hostels, to high-end hotel accommodation in heritage buildings, you really are spoilt for choice. See our Accommodation page.

Napier Maps

For area and town maps view our Napier Map page

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