21 August 2014
Napier First XI: Tourist Highlights
With its near-Mediterranean climate, art deco architecture, amazing wine, beaches and wildlife, Napier is one of New Zealand’s premier tourist destinations. If you are looking for something to do in between the cricket, check out our list of 11 ‘must-do’ activities in Napier.
Step back in time
Take a vintage car tour and discover Napier’s art deco delights and hear about the devastating 1931 earthquake that shaped the region’s heritage. Combine it with a walking tour of the city to discover the architectural gems up close. For visitors who find themselves in Napier between 19-22 February 2015, joining in the annual Art Deco Festival is a must. Over 30,000 people celebrate the city’s heritage by stepping back in time with art deco dress, music and dance, with 200 amazing events to join in. Visit website.
Dance of the gannets
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”. Options for enjoying a trip to the Gannets include an overland 4x4 safari tour, travelling across some of Hawke’s Bay’s most landscapes viewing spectacular scenery. A unique fun alternative is to travel along the beach on a unique tractor and trailer ride. Visit website.
The Hawke’s Bay Trails are fast becoming known as the best place to “coast” when it comes to cycling. Representing three of the official New Zealand Cycle Trails - The Landscapes, Wineries and Water Rides - each is flat and easy on the legs, with numerous places to stop for good coffee, wine, local ice-cream and scenic snapshots. Every age and stage can enjoy as much or as little as they like of the 200-plus kilometres of on-road and off-road trails. Scenery includes everything from mountainous lookouts and beautiful lowland rivers to endangered wetland wildlife and the sweeping Hawke’s Bay coastline. Visit website.
Visit a Māori legend
Standing 400 metres above sea level Te Mata Peak offers stunning 360 degree views of Hawke’s Bay. Maori legend says Te Mata Peak is a sleeping giant, “Chief Rongokako”, who fell in love with the neighbouring chief's daughter. She set him many tasks to win her hand, the last being to eat his way through the hill for her family to travel easily but he choked on a rock and dropped to the ground. His laying form can be seen when looking towards Te Mata Peak. Visit website.
Make the most of your time in New Zealand’s oldest wine region with a visit to one of the many iconic winery restaurants. Showcasing the best of their award-winning wines and bountiful fresh local produce, must dos include Craggy Range Winery, Mission Estate, Black Barn Vineyards, Elephant Hill Winery Restaurant, Clearview Estate, Crab Farm, Church Road and Vidal Winery Restaurant. Visit website.
Tee off in style
Consistently ranked in the top 40 courses in the world, a round at Cape Kidnappers is an absolute must for any golfer. Designed by American Tom Doak who applied his minimalist philosophy, his goal in designing the course was to create interesting holes you wouldn’t find anywhere else. Be exhilarated as you stand 140 metres above sea level and look out beyond the waves far below. You’ll hit shots over the top of tea trees, play along the edges of deep ravines and make perilous leaps from one ridge to another as you play seaside golf at its finest. Visit website.
New Zealand’s largest display of aquatic life and unique New Zealand wildlife including kiwi, penguins, piranha, sharks and tuatara can all be seen in one location. The National Aquarium, situated on Napier’s foreshore, is designed to resemble a huge stingray, stretching along the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is a centre of education, entertainment and cultural experience. Choose to explore at your own pace with a guide on a behind the scenes tour or in the main oceanarium. For a truly unique experience, take a dip in the tank with the sharks and stingrays and other marine life. Visit website.
Art, culture and more
Located in the heart of Napier’s cultural precinct, MTG Hawke’s Bay is a place where people, objects and ideas meet. Comprising a museum, theatre and gallery, MTG inhabits three buildings of distinct character; an art deco masterpiece, a modernist gem and a light-filled gallery that looks out across the magnificent Hawke’s Bay. MTG Hawke’s Bay is home to a nationally significant collection of art and objects that form the foundation of its distinctive exhibitions, as well as a world-class research facility. The MTG Theatre hosts a lively programme of film and performing arts. Visit website.
Tantalise the taste buds
The Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Markets showcase some of the region’s finest products. Meet the growers, producers and makers, and chat with them about their freshly grown produce and homemade products. Touch, smell and taste your way around one of New Zealand’s original Farmers Markets. Grab a hot, freshly roasted coffee and a bite from one of the hot food stalls. Take a rug or a chair and enjoy the live music and catch up with friends and locals. Visit website.
For more information on things to see and do in Napier, visit: www.hawkesbaynz.com