12 Hours in Napier

The city centre of Napier is reminiscent of a movie set from the 1930s with its Art Deco elements. You need not explore to find it. Take a stroll down the streets bursting with fashion, art and eateries.

The North Island city of Napier is not only the largest city in the sunny Hawke’s Bay region, but also one of the most charming. A disastrous earthquake is responsible for making the walk through Napier feel like you have travelled back in time. In the 1930s, the city was left devastated, but slowly built itself back up in the Art Deco style that is still with us today. The stretch of turquoise coast compliments the views of hills with dotted villas. Looking for things to do in Napier? Our 12 hour guide to this inspirational city has you covered.


Wake up at Art Deco Masonic Hotel
2 Tennyson Street, Napier

Taking you back in time with all the luxuries of today, Napier's Art Deco Masonic Hotel has a colourful history, which is truly embraced by offering genuine Art Deco flair. It makes for the perfect retreat for those who enjoy extravagance and individual atmosphere with a modern twist.

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8:00am: Coffee & Pastries at Crazy Good
87 Bridge Street, Ahuriri

Living up to their name, you only have to smell how crazy good the coffee is at Crazy Good. Hardly surprising being A First Hand Coffee (roaster) café. Grab your caffeine of choice and some sun and watch the world go by. You can also leave with your very own fresh coffee beans, a Keep Cup or even a stovetop… or maybe just that glistening pastry for a later fix.

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9:00am: Breakfast at F.G. Smith Eatery
9a Ossian Street, Ahuriri

Smiths is fresh and vibrant, playing homage to Hawke’s Bay in all its glory. The staff, food, music and pace are epic. Cure your hangovers with brekkie, brunch, lunch, or another Bloody Mary if you need it! You can catch some rays in the little sun trap of a garden and plan your next move.

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10:00am: Tour Ahuriri on Foot
1 Ossian Street, Ahuriri

Start your walking tour of Ahuriri at the picture-perfect beach with the best boardwalk in Hawke’s Bay. Where Nelson Quay meets Hardinge Road in Ahuriri, you will find a stunning, swim-safe little beach that you will love. Feed the mind as you unwind with a walk, watch the fishermen on the wharf and explore the rocky shore.

Ahuriri is an area steeped in history, but with a contemporary edge. The infamous National Tobacco Company Building displays an oddly successful blend of art nouveau tipped with roses adorning an art deco sunburst. It somehow just works and there is so much detail to take in. Open to the public on weekdays, enjoy the wooden doors carved by Walter Isaac Marquand of Hastings, and the elaborate dome. The arch in the square is pure Louis Sullivan art deco… and if the history and artists don’t get you going, the overall aesthetics will.

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11:30am: Refreshments at Albion Canteen 
137 Marine Parade, Napier

Contemporary in style, serving healthy yet hearty food, and something for those indulgence days too. Careful consideration has gone into the layout of Albion Canteen, as well as the menu and your experience begins as soon as you walk through the doors. If you’re coffee’d out, quench your thirst with a freshly squeezed juice from the proud local produce, or fuel with kombucha or a creamy smoothie. Healthy never tasted so good, and Albion Canteen’s cabinet is packed full of tempting cakes and bakes.

NB: Albion Canteen has now rebranded as Albie, offering a wide range of bagels, milkshakes, s'mores hot chocolates and ice cream sandwiches.


12:00pm: Culture at Spaces Napier
116 Tennyson Street, Napier

Host to a large array of art from a vast list of artists celebrating wall art and sculpture, it is certainly worth making time for Space Napier. This chamber of craft offers a perfect space to take some time out and evoke emotion. You can see the passion of the artists’ work and sometimes be lucky enough to meet them in person, should your timing be right.

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1:00pm: Lunch at Hapi
45 Hastings Street, Napier

You’ll want to become a regular at the Hapi haunt, a clean-eating hub of love that offers something a little different in the competitive Napier cafe scene. The entrepre­neurial owners gutted an old takeaway bar to find an original art deco ceiling untouched since the day it was built, and a carefully curated restoration now houses the cafe (and also won an award from the Napier Art Deco Trust). Lots of love is poured into the menu, embracing delicious with nutritious. The food and drinks are potentized with medical knowledge – simple health fixes using herbal extracts. Choose from housemade treats, nut mylks, award-winning cold-pressed juices and organic, gluten-free delights.

2:00pm: Womenswear at Minha
58 Dalton Street, Napier

Minha (MEE-NA) is a clothing boutique home to local and international delights with a focus on what women want, and offering fabulous pieces to last the test of time. In a world of today’s fast fashion, they have sustainability at heart. Founded in 2018 by Wendy Croskery, the store was named after her grandmother -- Minha (a marvelous and inspirational dresser herself). They also offer an indulgent homewares section with some unique treats, crafted by locals. We’re putting our name down for the ceramics made with sand from Mahia beach!

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2:30pm: Shopping at Blackbird Goods
25 Dalton Street, Napier

Blackbird Goods was created by Gemma Adams, a much pursued interior stylist, and partner Nathan Speeden. Their products reflect the evolving surrounds of creativity in the neighbourhood, with a nod to the coastal and bohemian lifestyle bringing an island feel into your home. You will find a wealth of handpicked, ethically sourced pieces found around New Zealand and abroad ready to reinvent your own four walls.

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3:30pm: Explore Art Deco Napier by foot
7 Tennyson Street, Napier

Nothing will prepare you for what this charismatic New Zealand city has that, in the words of The Lonely Planet, ‘can provoke a Great Gatsby swagger in the least romantic soul’. The city of Napier has a great story to tell and nowhere can you hear it better than by experiencing it for yourself.

Jump on a fascinating tour by foot with the Art Deco Trust to get the lowdown from those in the know who captivate the dramatic story of this city’s rebirth in the vibrant 1930s until today. If you are wanting a slower pace or perhaps a little romance along the route, they also supply a self-guided app! There are a number of tour options available so leave time if you’re eager for more.

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4:30pm: Wine at Monica Loves
39 Tennyson Street, Napier

A little off the beaten track, tucked down a historic lane and set in a repurposed industrial warehouse is one of Napier’s best wine bars: Monica Loves. With an internationally loved wine list, extensive craft beer menu and captivating cocktails, enjoy a couple of drinks before dinner. The friendly staff are always happy to share their knowledge and recommendations. Stay awhile and enjoy the people watching before choosing your next stop for dinner.

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6:00pm: Dinner at Bistronomy (Option 1)
40 Hastings Street, Napier

One of a choice for downtown dining and love of New Zealand food. The atmosphere at Bistronomy is sophisticated but on the right side of! Firm believers in making everyday eating that little bit unique, with adventure and genius in everything created.

Great pride is taken in infusing fresh Hawke’s Bay produce with fresh ideas to offer dishes you wouldn’t expect. The menu changes with the seasons, giving an enticing abundance and variety of edible offerings from land and sea. Think fun and tasty with less fuss. Bistronomy strive to make food you can share, discuss and drool over. You’ll be sure to return.

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6:00pm: Dinner at Pacifica (Option 2)
209 Marine Parade, Napier

If you dream of tasting the very essence of New Zealand, step inside this unassuming weathered, bright-blue bungalow that is home to Pacifica. Focusing on local produce, this is the place to find genuine NZ cuisine in an uncontrived environment (yes please). From seating to food and remarkable service, this makes for a perfect cohesion involving all aspects of the dining experience. Every ingredient is a welcomed gift of purity; unfussy and unpretentious. We could stay all night.

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8:00pm: Wine at Matisse Wine Bar
12 Herschell Street, Napier

Steered by the two passions that encompass this part of the world so well, wine and art, it makes for a grand combo in a relaxed, friendly and funky environment at Matisse Wine Bar.

Offering wines from small producers they know and love and invest their devotion to constantly discover and learn about new wines which reflect on the menu. They encourage and support new introductions from the wineries as well as all-time faves so you can never say, ‘been there, done that’! Artisan cocktails, craft beers and ciders are available too, as well as beautiful seasonal tapas. A provocative menu in a colourful setting. What more could you want from your evening?

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Original story written and published by Neat Places

Have longer than 12 hours?

In Napier for a bit longer? We recommend popping into these places for a visit too:

Mister D
A fine combo of country bumpkin and edgy vibes roll into one here. It’s possible, we’ve seen it and they’re proud of it! Mister D is a relaxed eatery serving breakfast, pasta, New Zealand entrees and wine. A place that believes in fresh, local produce delivered with great service but no fuss.

Morena Espresso Bar
You get more than just a caffeine fix at this architecturally designed coffee bar. Kokako cold brew coffee and organic mechanic kombucha are also available on tap, and to complement their beverage selection, you’ll be spoilt with delicious sweet and savory bites.

Chantal Organics
If you have an appetite for some healthier morsels, these quality organic and natural whole foods should fill every Kiwi pantry.

Georgia on Tennyson
An award-winning Specialty Coffee Bar bringing brewed goodness to the fine people and visitors of Hawke’s Bay. A sure stop off to hug a mug, grab some energy and gulp the goodness.

The Picnic
Your go-to place for tasty eats, sweets and treats. From daily bread to occasional decadence, add a moment of WOW bite by bite. We are told, ‘Life is designed to be devoured’.

Located in a light infused loft space, Madisons showroom offers a carefully curated range of eclectic homewares, unique furniture pieces and fresh flowers for all occasions. Warning; you might need a bigger suitcase!